How does going through depression change someone as a …

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    Every one is different.

    Not everyone recovers, or thinks hard about what they’ve been through and how that might affect their worldview. Many people have depression that lingers; some depression is linked with extreme anxiety. It’s all different.

    This is the pubmed description of depression: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001941/

    I’ve suffered from mild depressions a few times in my life; I was diagnosed but never treated with drugs, because drugs scare me (especially the side effects and possibility of addiction) and I refused the prescription. Luckily my depression was not severe, and I have never been suicidal. I will not be surprised to find myself with symptoms of depression again, as I get older. Both of my parents should have been or are being treated for it. Hopefully, the things I do now, and the way I think now, has changed me enough that perhaps I can minimize the impact of further changes in my brain chemistry or hormone shifts that add to the severity of any depression I might revisit.

    I know life is a phenomenal and wonderful adventure; I’d much rather think about that than dwell on the pain and sadness that I can just as easily draw on. It’s hard to stop the bad loop, especially when you’ve been particularly hard-hit by stress or tragedy. I’ve heard drugs can help, a lot. I’m much more likely to try medication, next time; if it can help to turn off the negativity in my brain, then I’m all for it. There’s no shame in that; and people who use, rather than abuse, anti-depressants are little different than people who take demerol or prescription tylenol 3 for physical pain.

    The big changes for me, after my depression was diagnosed by a physician and, for the most part, put away, were:

    • I’m much more thoughtful and aware of the difference between what someone is saying and what they might actually be feeling.
    • I understand now that mental illnesses, like depression, are actually a full-on, physical illnesses. They impact your whole body. “Mental” illnesses like depression are not just about being sad, or grumpy, or not having had enough to eat that day (low blood sugar). Being depressed is not just being unhappy; and it’s not being crazy, although it can become that. It’s very difficult for other people to understand how to respond to you, and how to help. They can’t just give you a shoulder to lean on, or a crutch to help you hobble across the street. It’s been difficult for me to overcome my own bias with respect to that; but now I understand more, having lived it.
    • I make time for exercise, every day. It is critical for me to sweat or get outside and walk around, everyday. There were weeks where if someone wasn’t expecting me to show up for a workout or a walk, I wouldn’t have left home, and stayed inside with the shades drawn. When I was depressed I had shoulder and neck pain, from stress, so badly that lying down to go to sleep was excruciating, and no amount of massages would take away the knots. Exercise was a major turning point and helped me first become really aware of the location and intensity of my physical pain, and then helped make it disappear. When I feel lousy now, I exercise. I never would’ve done that, before; but now I know I should take action.
    • It’s important to force yourself to initiate human contact. Noone is going to be there for you, unless you let them know you need them. I now understand how important it is to ask for help, or to make yourself helpful to others, so that they need you. When someone else needs you, if it’s a neighbor, a family member, a co-worker, a child, or even a pet, it gives you a reason, no matter how annoying, to get up and get out of bed, and takes you a step out of your depression. So, my depression made me a little more of an extrovert, and made me seek closer, more intimate and authentic relationships with some people (and see through, forgive, and reduce my contact with others); and it also made me more willing to give my time and energy to help complete strangers, just because I could. It made me a more perceptive, compassionate, and better human being.
    • When I laugh now, I laugh large.

    I think this needs careful answers.

    Certainly during a period of severe depression your personality is affected. Your interest in the world and your ability to empathise with others diminishes (and in some cases practically disappears). You have less energy so you’re less engaged with stuff; and you’re likely to want to push people away. So – yes, you change.

    I guess that one way to gauge whether you have recovered (and yes, people do, often) is how much your ‘old’ personality returns. Certainly a sign that you’re over it is when you become more interested in the world again, your empathy returns, you are more energized and engaged, more open to the world. So – you change ‘back’ to how you were before the depression – notionally.

    Except you are different, even after recovery. You retain the traces, the shadow of what it was like – and the fear of going back there again. And indeed you may have relapses (I did, and still do – and even though I know quite well how to manage them now, it’s still tricky for me at times). And the knowledge that it’s possible to feel that bad still remains around you even when you feel well again. I don’t mean it’s always there – some days I don’t even think about it at all – but I think people who live with depression learn to take their ‘emotional temperature’ regularly, in much the same way as diabetics learn to measure their blood sugar or people with hypertension take their blood pressure. The fact that you end up checking in with your feelings on a more regular basis than before depression is probably a good thing – but it’s a change to your personality nonetheless. Pre-depression, people tend to take happiness and freedom from anxiety for granted; thereafter, you don’t ever really do that again. That’s probably a good thing in some ways, but it … comes at a price.

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    Depression is a brain disorder that can lead to much emotional anguish. It changes in how your brain functions and also can have a big effect on your body.

    There are many factors which can cause depression. It can be genetic or due to some personal trauma like failed relationships or a lost job or due to some conflicts with family or friends or death of some near ones.

    In my case, it was due to my past relationship which failed terribly. Breakups are never easy. The end of a relationship can flip your world upside down and trigger a range of emotions. Some people quickly accept it and move on, but others may deal with depression. I was the one who couldn’t move on from the thoughts of him leaving me in this way. I was feeling sad, hopeless, empty, worthless all at the same time. Some days I even had suicidal thoughts. But then there was this one person whom I call my best friend (now boyfriend) who just helped me in every possible way he could to make me happy. He had spent nights after nights staying awake with me listening to all my rubbish stories and helping me to move on from that toxic person. His efforts finally brought results. I was happy and was fully over my ex. And then one fine evening my best friend proposed me, and guess what, I said Yes.

    My relationship with him wasn’t planned. It just happened. Although he always keeps saying that we were destined to be together. I was happy because I had this most amazing partner who was my bestest friend, who was the shoulder i always found when I needed to cry and who made me believe that no matter how tough life is, with us being partners we would take it on, in any form, in any way.

    Things were going well, we both were enjoying our relationship to the fullest. But gradually as time passed, I observed changes in his behaviour. I thought its normal. Love doesn’t always stay beautiful. It grows ugly with time. You get to see the real side of people, the not so pretty, the not so perfect side. But with this changed behaviour, my fear of him leaving me started. I then realized that the lessons I learned from the previous relationship were bothering me. I started comparing him with my ex which is a very bad thing. You know you will never get over a heartbreak and come out as the exact same person. Something about the whole experience changes you. All these doubts, fears, issues, everything. I wish I could be the same person I was years ago. The one who was so excited about love. The one who believed that you can be with someone forever. I wish I could love him without any reservations.

    He often tells me that he won’t ever give up on me. He believes in ending the fight, not the relationship. He forgives me even when I hurt him. But how can I tell him that I have all these emotional traumas that I cannot seem to overcome? How can I tell him that I’m too scared that he’ll leave, and I’ll have my heart broken again? I m not sure if I can handle another heartbreak or go through the same things I had to go through before. How can I admit how scared I am without putting pressure on him? Because if he is going to choose me, I want him to do it willingly and not under any pressure. I want him to stay because he loves me and not because he’s afraid of hurting me.

    Again there’s another world where I don’t feel like this. Where my heart fits into my chest right and I m not terrified of anything. I sometimes wonder how I can be so happy and so sad and thriving and healing all at the same time. These are some of my Post effects of depression.

    Ek muft ka gyaan:- Relationships are not pretty, my friend. Things get tough, things get ugly and the shit gets real. Don’t get into it if you can’t hug someone’s flaws into perfection. Don’t love people if you can’t make them feel special, even when they themselves feel worthless. We all deserve love that’s pure to it’s core.

    And last but not the least Be kind, Be generous and Keep spreading love.

    Thank you.

    Everybody has hardships in life. There comes a time in everybody’s life when things don’t go as planned, everything turn upside down, things get worse with time and ultimately, one sinks into depression.

    I was not new to this. People who don’t know how it is, can imagine it as everything turns black & white. But, for people who have gone through it understand how complex it is. People who sink into depression are justed as sad but it’s more than that.

    For me, my work changed me and my life completely. Not for good, but extremely bad. It was a complete phase of more than a year when I was there in Kolkata for my job. City welcomed me with open arms but things didn’t turn out as good and beautiful as I had in my mind. For people, who are unaware of what kind of person I am, I am extremely happy-go-lucky kinda girl but I became extreme opposite.

    That complete one year, actually more than that, every single day was tormenting for me. Every day at work, I was being abused, assaulted, harassed mentally, emotionally, socially. For a complete year, I was told at my face that ‘I am just a piece of shit, I am so incompetent. My career will never be successful.’ Mind it. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I don’t think there remained a single day when I didn’t cry. Suffocation was at apex. At times, I choked due to suffocation. I tried ending my life. I used to be so mindless, walking aimlessly on roads, with just a thought of dying.

    I still remember that day when I decided to end my life, went to the office balcony at 6th floor to jump. But I couldn’t. It continued for a year. I just used to beg for help but nobody did. At last, I was fed up of crying day night, just living a life full of tears. Took a decision to change it. I remember one of my college senior (she treats me as her lil sister) and my roommate (again she treats me as her lil sister), told me ‘When I come out of it, I would be proud of myself.’ That time, I didn’t understand a single word but now, I know how proud I am of myself. I fought all odds myself and came out as a winner. I was alone all the way but I am glad I could.

    To cut short,

    Indeed depression changes you as a person. But, in what way? Well, it’s your call. If you can try to fight against it, you win. But, if you put hands down, it takes over you and may be your life.

    Naturally, some people do better than others. Many cope well with depression, avoid negative thinking and can spring back from the illness. They’ve got good resilience. If that picture fits you, there’s more good news.

    Others don’t do so well. If you are one of them, do ask for help.

    Because at the end, it’s your life. Take the charge in your hands and help yourself. Make your life worth living.

    It made me realise how utterly wonderful it feels to merely be content. when I was depressed, my complete inability to feel pleasure in anything meant the days dragged so slowly it was unbearable. I remember coming home from work, standing in my house and wondering what I was supposed to do with the remaining hours until I could realistically go to bed. When you don’t taste food, properly hear music, care about a plot line in a soap opera, feel able to connect with a friend, and all of your usual past times feel pointless, an hour becomes a day and a day feels like a month. I now realise just how glorious it feels to get home from work, cook a nice dinner, enjoy a relaxing bath and laugh at trash tv. The simple pleasures in life are no longer taken for granted.

    It also gave me greater insight into what it may feel like for my patients who I’m treating for depression. Before experiencing it myself, all I could guess at was that it may be somewhere between deep sadness, and grief (I have been through a significant bereavement in my early twenties). After experiencing it, I have such a deeper understanding of the differences between depression and sadness or grief. Although everyone’s experiences are different, for me the most striking aspect was the complete loss of control over my own thoughts, the constant berating of myself, the nonstop mental narrative of ‘I’m useless/a failure/unlovable’, the lack of enjoyment in anything, an unshakeable sense that I had no future, and the increasing desire to harm myself. None of these were a feature of my previous sadness of grief. It truly felt as though my brain was broken.

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    Well, can only speak for myself here, but as a kid, I was strong, healthy, happy, easy going, stoic, spontaneous lover of life who was always ready for adventure and was impervious to the ups and downs of life. Then, at 21, one of my greatest of FEW fears came to be a reality, and from then, well, things changed. Now here I am, 46, that kid full of life with bright blue eyes, now is an adult of 46 going on 100. Personally, depression has changed me in the following ways. I cycle from being hyper-impulsive with decisions to being in ruts where Im unable to make any changes to life. Im far more introspective now as depression leaves your mind continually moving, there is no peace of mind, what there is, is thinking, and the thinking never stops, not at night, not when you are trying to sleep, not when you wake up, you constantly consider a billion things at once. My sense of adventure has been replaced with a dread of all things because everything has become boring. I’m not sure if it is novelty seeking or what, but it would literally take a war or some natural disaster going on outside my house to elicit any sort of excited or pleasurable response from my brain. All in all, it has made me insensitive to danger and violence, somewhat cold as a person, less empathetic, quiet, a deep thinker, tired, old beyond my years, very contemplative and far less optimistic. On the up side, depressed people do not fear the end or death, its actually comforting to know that one day, all of it will be over, and anything that happened will cease to have any relevance.

    First of all, we need to understand that clinical depression is more like diabetes than a flu i.e. there is no full recovery, it may not be dominant in your brain at the time but this problem tends to stay.

    Now, speaking for a person who has been through the tough phase of clinical depression (people tend to get confused regarding clinical depression and situational depression), aftermath can be –

    1. Pessimism – As the name suggests, even the most seemingly optimistic people develop pessimistic/mind and tend to think of the worst case possible in any given situation, the reason being the mind never wants to go through the same low phase again so it takes precautionary measures.
    2. Liking Solitude – Through the low phase, we tend to break all social bond and tend to stay alone or with someone very close (majorly because of a feeling of being judged or fake sympathy etc.). Our brains slowly starts liking it, slowly meeting someone becomes more of a compulsion than a choice.
    3. Developing a secondary persona – Many people tend to create a different personality around other people (sometimes the people may include your nearest relations). Again, there are many reasons which are totally subjective. Though there are certain breaking points in that where you can truly see how that person really is.
    4. Stronger breaking point – Now, when the person has gone through so much then he tends to stay positive in worst case where normal people would break because firstly, he now knows he has been through worse and secondly, he had already thought of the worst case scenario (pessimism) was mentally prepared for it.

    Still proper measures should be taken whenever feeling unusually low as many people do relapse as this problem never truly goes but stays in the hindsight of your mind

    Well, you going from ‘normal’ everyday you, to a very bland existance, where everything is; taste less & sense less & soul less and pretty much pointless. You will remember how it was before and you will shower yourself & dress yourself, but you won’t be able to go out your door and will end up possibly sitting in silence.

    So, yes you will be changed.

    But, there is a solution! And I will paste it for you here:

    We actually have a choice, yes thats right; a choice.

    depression stems from the lower/primal part of our brain, originally developed

    for : survival, instincts, impulses, feelings, flight or fight type of situations.

    it has been proven, that depression thoughts and states reside here. you will notice in the depressed state; you just remain there, getting deeper & deeper

    in sadness, unworthiness, unloved etc.

    The choice is to switch to the higher/upper brain. How? be ‘willing’ it. In this part of the brain resides: reason, language, rational cognitive thoughts. So, you have to ‘will’ your brain/thoughts to this part of the brain. For example by naming your favorite teams starting line-up and maybe even their uniform number, right handed/ left hander etc. As you can see, you will fully engaging the higher/upper brain and since our true focus can be on 1 part of the brain at a time, the lower/primal brain begins to fade out, as you are now in the higher/upper brain.

    all is explained in the book, by page 28 you will have enough information to start using the techniques. No drugs required.

    the book is called: Depression is a Choice by A.B.Curtiss isbn no. 0–7868–6629–2

    you can do this.

    A lot of people who have suffered depression, have given their opinions and examples of how depression changes someone as a person.

    From a psychologist’s standpoint, the most common cognitive bias that most people share is ‘Learnt Helplessness

    Learnt Helplessness, is a behavioral syndrome that occurs when a person encounters repeated and unavoidable exposure to previous negative situations/people/experiences. They unfortunately come to believe that these negative encounters are unavoidable. That they are fated to unhappiness, that they can never escape their traumas.

    Unfortunately the belief is so ingrained, that even if an ‘es capable’, or ‘avoidable’ situation occurs, they believe that they cannot escape it, they believe that perhaps they are fated to doom. This belief is seen in all cases of clinical depression. This belief changes a person’s belief about himself, his abilities and his belief that he too can have better.

    E.g. One who has never experienced an abusive relationship, would never understand why a person would continue to live in an abusive relationship, why not just opt out. Yet the person suffering the abuse can’t even come to think of walking out that easily.

    As a psychologist, it is painful to see people in so much despair, Yet i have to work with them slowly and steadily, encouraging them to discover their inner light, encouraging them to believe that it is them who have the power within themselves to brighten their inner light; and to make their world luminous again.

    Yes. Depression took a lot from me, but it has shed the ugly parts of my original personality. I took other people’s kindness for granted. I did whatever I felt like, and rarely thought of the impacts of my behavior. As a teenager I put down people on the internet. I had no empathy. But after being depressed for 5+ years, I’ve become a bit more sensitive to people’s suffering. I think of the implications of each word I say and try to avoid any damage. I censor myself a lot. And yes, I’m not as creative as I was before depression, but I bring less pain to others.

    I’m also no longer as materialistic. There’s nothing wrong with wanting material goods, of course. It’s just become ‘easier’ to make me happy. My mind was constantly on the makeup, iPod, stationery, slim figure etc. that I didn’t have yet. Now I rarely desire anything. I can hold onto every moment I don’t hate myself and it just feels like rapture. If someone speaks to me in a kind way, I would probably be reflecting on that a week later. My brain gives the smallest things so much importance. I can’t explain the link to depression, though I’m sure it has something to do with it.

    No. Your personality is imprinted from the womb, at least that’s what I’ve read (I don’t remember the source specifically). I don’t recall if what I read was fact or opinion but it was scientifically determined that ya are who ya are (simply put). Any changes, via experience or trauma, can enhance or diminish specific traits but on the whole your personality itself is genetically programmed. It is possible to work around your deficits and change your inclinations through reflection and therapy but I personally believe nothing can change your personality. I tend to agree with someone who answered stating that you return to your old self after a severe episode. Depression and trauma can impact anyone’s MO to the point where they cannot function but you will always be you. At least that’s what I believe.

    I would like to point out that as a way of alleviating much of the stigma that surrounds disabilities in general it is important to remember that the person is a person first. For example, Anne is an individual who suffers from depression. Anne isn’t depressed, Anne is Anne and she has a disorder. Never let a label define a person is the message, on behalf of anyone with a disability.

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