Dear Dr. Archer,
Is depression a lifetime condition? I ask because I have struggled for a long, long time with depression. I was seeing a therapist as well as a psychiatrist for medication and thought things were okay.
Then a couple of weeks ago my symptoms started up again, primarily an inability to sleep! I get very irritable when I can't sleep and I have no energy and get the feeling that I don't want to be around.
I have no husband or children, which usually id fine with me when I'm feeling fine, but when I get to feeling irritable, I think maybe it would just be as well not to be here any longer.
I am so tired. I just want to sleep and not wake up. I know this probably isn't a simple question. I just don't want to deal with this forever.
Thank you for your time. Oh, and I got a copy of your book, 'Better Than Normal'. I enjoyed reading it very much. Congratulations on your success.
Please, promise me that if you ever get the feeling that you might harm yourself, immediately go to your nearest hospital ER. You have worth and you matter, Marge. I want you to know that what you're feeling is the depression, not you.
You're right, Marge, it is not an easy question. Some people fight depression their whole life, while others eventually can taper off their medication (under their doctor's supervision, of course). Each individual is different, and it's best to just take it one day at a time.
It's normal to experience temporary relapses. It is also not uncommon for antidepressants to be working just fine and then suddenly, they're not.
Often this is related to a stressful event or situation, so the first thing you must do is inventory what’s going on in your life right now and see if that is the case. Many times if you figure out the cause of the stress and take steps to deal with it, your mood will stabilize.
One thing I wonder is if you have been evaluated for bipolar disorder. I ask because your letter hints at cycles of going from normal to irritable to depressed.
Talk to your doctor about this and also tell him how you're in a slump right now. Perhaps your medication can either be adjusted or a new med added.
Never give up hope, Marge. People can and do recover from depression. Things you can do for yourself include yoga, meditation, exercise, healthy diet, rest, acupuncture and getting enough sunlight.
Please hang in there, Marge. Working closely with your doctor is your best bet in returning to a normal life. If you don't feel like you're getting the care and attention you need, by all means go for a second opinion.
You should feel comfortable with your doctor and have confidence in him, as well.