Depression Relieved by
by Patty E. Fleener M.S.W.
Depression causes extreme psychic pain and there is a high rate of
What is the use of knowing DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy)
skills if you are in the midst of a deep depression where all
you can do is vegetate?
First off, I want you to know that I am a fellow sufferer. There
is no basic difference between you and I. Some people believe
that because I own a website, that I am all well all the time.
This is not true. I will say however that I am a whole lot
better in many ways as I have worked through many issues, gotten
older (47), etc. HOWEVER, what is to keep me from experiencing a
deep depression caused "from my brain" or as
professionals call it, endogenous depression?
Do you see where I am going with this? Some have used DBT,
cognitive behavioral therapy and have discovered which behaviors
are destructive, and so on. BUT, due to the biological nature of
this disorder, what we all have in common is what we experience
when our brain "fires out of control."
We can read every book, go to a good therapist, etc., yet our
brains remain "broken."
Let us discuss that "broken brain" and how it touches
our lives. It touches many areas of our lives - depression,
anger, rage, etc. Today I choose the subject of depression.
Depression can kill us. Several years ago, I still hadn't found
the right combination of medications to treat this depression
and every day was the same. I sat (actually I vegetated) on the
couch, and obsessed about what I would write in my suicide note.
I didn't want anyone to feel responsible so I was going to say
that my disorder was at fault and I simply could no longer bear
the immense psychic pain that I experienced. Each day I wondered
just how long I could go on feeling that way. The outside world
ceased to exist for me. The curtains remained drawn. I went days
without showering, slept in my clothes and cried constantly. I
wondered how I was going to end my life if I could no longer
live with such an intense depression. It was at this point that
I became very afraid. I didn't want to die, I just wanted the
pain to end. It almost felt like physically my whole body hurt
in addition to the emotional pain. I wanted to feel joy again.
The stage of depression I am attempting to describe is a
"suicidal depression." If this level of depression
would have continued, I honestly don't know how long it would
have taken for me to take my life.
One thing that helped me during that time was my
strong faith in God and feeling that it would not be right for
me to commit suicide. I believed that if I was on this earth
alive, God must have a reason or He would have already taken me.
I also believe that there are reasons that we can't understand
for episodes such as this. We all know we grow during crises and
perhaps my purpose is to help others through this website.
Feeling this way, helps me.
Due to my fears, I asked my husband to lock up my medication.
Most of us have quite an array of medicine, is that not right? I
had quite a bit medicine that was current and medications that I
took before but kept. Tim threw those meds away and locked up my
current meds, only allowing me to take what I needed for the
I took a few trips to the local Crisis Center where they screen
you for the hospital. It did help to talk to the counselors
there, but when they asked if I would be safe that night, I knew
I could promise that. I took each and every day as it came, one
day at a time.
Ok, now that I have you depressed even more, here comes the good
part - the hope. FINALLY I had my appointment with Mental Health
and this time I demanded a psychiatrist be present. (By the way,
don't be afraid to fight to get well. Many professionals don't
believe you can. Be sure you are aware of your patient's
rights). I sobbed the whole time I was in the waiting room and
during the whole appointment. I couldn't help it. I begged for
help and let them know I was in a serious danger zone regarding
Some medication changes were made. The next day I was extremely
manic, yelled and screamed and threw cups at my husband. (For
those of you who are not aware, I have bipolar disorder in
addition to the borderline disorder). This was brought on by the
small amount of antidepressant they gave me. We called Adult
County Mental Health and I was given Seroquel. Immediately I
calmed down. Here is the strange part. OVERNIGHT my depression
lifted considerably. At this time in my life, it is COMPLETELY
There is no miracle here, at least none that I can see. What
happened is what I believe will happen to you if you are
experiencing depression right now. My brain needed the right
combination of medications to relieve that endogenous
depression. As you know, we are like guinea pigs and getting on
the right meds is trial and error a lot. In fact, I was
considered to have "treatment resistant depression,"
i.e., I felt like a hopeless case. Every person is different and
we don't all respond the same way to all medications. For
instance, Prozac is a first line drug for many people with BPD
for depression and chronic anger. Many swear it has dramatically
changed their lives. For me, I tried it three different times
and broke out with a horrible rash each time. I am totally
allergic to it.
I firmly believe in the use of psychotropic medications for the
treatment of both borderline personality disorder and the
bipolar disorder and so do the experts. Both are biological. The
research shows a biological connection with the BPD.
"The effect of genes on the
development of BPD is likely substantial. The effect of common
family environment may be close to zero."
Torgersen S. Psychiatr Clin North Am 2000 Mar;23(1):1-9
However, my belief is that the way to get better
is to put your focus on recovery instead of how you got the BPD.
As I mention in my article on therapy, stay away from therapy
that opens you up to painful experiences in the past.
Borderlines are not good with regulating their emotions. We can
go from feeling fine to feeling suicidal very quickly.
Stay in the present, take medications to assist you with
borderline symptoms such as chronic anger, rage, depression,
mood swings, etc. Talk to others with the BPD in person or on
the Internet and you will discover you are not alone. Forgive
yourself for ALL of your past experiences that your illness has
caused. Know that you didn't ask for it, didn't cause it and
don't deserve it.
I wanted to share my recent experience with each and every one
of you to remind you that there is hope and that if your level
of functioning presently is poor, that it can only be temporary.
If it can happen to someone like me who was labeled
"treatment resistant," you can bet it will happen to
you. Some of us are luckier than others. Some find relief right
away; some go a long time.
Of course I am still working on many issues, but I can work on
them now because I have finally climbed out of depression.
I want to mention also that our intelligence is in no way
affected by our disorder and in fact, it seems to me that most
of us are more intelligent than the average person. Not only
that, but even though we may have developed destructive ways of
survival, I believe a large percentage of us are stronger than
many people because we have experienced so much turmoil. This is
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