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  1. #1

    Depression: how do you know?

    Hey all,

    Being diagnosed with depression from anxiety a few months ago (take 10mg esc daily) I'm still questioning things and I wonder if anyone could help me? I've done a bit of reading on the internet (mostly scientific articles) but sometimes it helps to hear from others about their experiences.

    I'm absolutely exhausted and overwhelmed all the time. I'm just so so so tired and fed up and lacking motivation to do anything (except drink beer and watch meaningless tv..). The reason I saw a Dr is that this was totally unlike me. I always was active, happy and excelled at university. I'd work very hard to make sure I got high grades, I'd spend extra hours at work (unpaid) to ensure my reports were "perfect". I've never ever had a break - school, university, full-time employment (whilst completing a Masters) and now back at university. I've always loved my studies and worked and didn't mind doing extra hours because I loved it. Now I hate it and am considering a change of career.

    I find myself sitting for weeks in front of my computer at uni, perfectly capable of my work, and not completing anything... not even writing a word. I don't seem to care about the repocussions. I just don't care. This again so unlike me.

    I've been bullied at my current university by my advisor. I've lost my self-esteem, confidence, courage and I've never ever felt so incredibly stupid in my whole entire life. When he grades my work, he says its the worst thing he has seen. I'm now afraid to submit anything to him and therefore never achieve anything - so I am behind, making him more angry. I finally got the courage to give him something only to have comments like "think BEFORE you write!" "I can't believe this is all the work you have done in 2 years" (even though I specified it was only an abstract and introduction, the rest was still to come). He submitted my abstract and introduction to the heads of our department writing "this is all the work she has done in 2 years!" which is not true. I then had to prove to them that indeed I was working. In any other university I could change supervisor but my contract is different meaning that I can't.

    My doctor has just written a letter recommending a 3 month break from university (which is also my full-time paid employment) which I'm waiting to be approved so I can take a break - stressful move in itself as I will not be paid while away from uni/work and I cannot afford to go back to my home country. I can stay rent free with my partner but I would still need some money. Unfortunately I cannot work in his country part-time as I don't have a visa.

    I've never felt like this before - I'm upset, tired, so exhausted and unhappy. I'm upset with myself for not being a better student and letting this advisor have such a negative affect on me.

    Could this really be depression? Or am I just in a rough patch?

    Thanks for your help,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Re: Depression: how do you know?


    No one can tell u if this is depression. It would b normal to feel terrible under the circumstances. Has the lack of energy lasted more than 6 months? Do you feel frozen to your chair,or like you can't stop moving? Does life feel like it's worth nothing? Do u know u need help?

    Do you just need to talk??? Let it out! Figure out the rest as it comes.
    When I admitted depression, I was crying several times a day. I couldn't get the nastiness out of my head. I felt like I was like nothing. (This passes).

    It sounds like u have burnt out to me. Need a rest. Nothing to worry about.
    I have read over & over that being a perfectionist makes it harder to be happy as a person, as it is an impossible goal.

    Be happy


  3. #3

    Re: Depression: how do you know?

    thanks for your reply melody

    I guess perhaps probably 2 months ago it got all too much and I couldn't stop crying and stayed in bed for a week. I just felt so bad, which was so unlike me.

    I guess for me I'm still pretty confused about whether I have anxiety or depression (which my Dr diagnosed but I'm pretty confused about this), and whether what I'm feeling is pretty normal given the situation - living in a different country far away (I'm in france, but am a NZer), PhD student at university, unhelpful/unsupportive/unrealistic (and demanding) supervisor, boyfriend living in Scotland... I just feel overwhelmed and I've gotten to the stage of avoiding work, university, friends, life just to chill out at home. I'd much rather stay in bed or on the couch or in my PJs rather than deal with everyday life. I've always had a lot of stress with university, study and work, and usually I've just sucked it up and got on with it because I liked my career choice and wanted to excel. Now I'm unmotivated and unwilling, and lazy!

    I talk to a counsellor occasionally but this is not subsidised by the french healthcare system so I can't really afford it. She seems to think its my busy life thus far and the bullying of my supervisor.... and this has resulted in depression.

    I'm just pretty confused. My DR. wrote a letter supporting taking a few months out from uni to rest. I'm just waiting for the university's reaction to this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Re: Depression: how do you know?

    Hi Kiwigirl,

    There are two strains of thought about this. Depression can be used to describe long term mental illness like mine, or some other people go through a period of depression of depression in their life. 1/3rd of people will experience some form of depression in their lifetime. For many people they may have treatment and/or go on medication for about 6 months & the symptoms may clear up by then & they go off the medication. That is what I am told is more common.

    Bullies make it hard. It can be a no win situation sometimes. I am still trying to unlearn some of the rubbish childhood bullies & workplace bullies filled my head with. It can be hard not to believe the majority, or people in authority, but that doesn't mean they are right. Bullies are great at being aggressive, but in reality they are small pathetic people feeding their fragile self esteem by attacking others.

    All I could do to cope is hold my head high, no matter what was said. Pretend I didn't notice. Focus on doing my job well, not on what they were saying as much as possible. Most importantly know that what they are saying is not true. They just decided they hated me so they went out of their way to look for flaws. They would see what I prided myself & insult me about that as a power game.

    It's good you might take some time out to clear your head. Try not to think about the nastiness while you are away. Try to think positive things about yourself to help yourself feel more confident. You know you are good at your job. Bullies can never be beaten by aggressiveness. Politeness minimizes it the most I think, gives them less ammo, reduces arguments that even if you are right, they are louder & meaner so it feels bad. If they lie & accuse you of things that aren't true, keep it simple, say 'no that's not true' & if they keep going use the repeat method, cause they are usually irrational & don't listen to arguments properly anyway.

    Those have been my coping methods anyway Hope it works out well for you


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Re: Depression: how do you know?

    The "grading" for depression seems to be:

    1. Low mood
    2. Significant low mood
    3. Mild depression
    4. Moderate depression
    5. Severe depression

    It sounds like you are on level 2 - significant low mood which affects you day to day but which could be improved without medication or counselling. You sound like you have taken a hammering to your self-esteem and it is harming your motivation and your enjoyment of life. This is a normal stage which nearly everyone reaches at some point. I think you will find things start getting back to normal when you are able to deal with this situation. Don't leave it too late, act on it now to get it resolved.
    Citalopram Survival Guide
    Inositol Survival Guide

    What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    I drew the line between hope and despair, and the line will hold.

    "Forth now, and fear no darkness!"

  6. #6

    Re: Depression: how do you know?

    Thanks a lot for your good advice, suggestions and help.

    I've seen a second doctor (on the request of my university) and they have agreed the relationship I have with my supervisor is toxic. Due to contractual obligations there is not a lot I can do to change it, otherwise I have to pay money back (not an option) and there is no way to change university supervisor. Thankfully both my personal Dr and the university Dr agree to a 3 month leave of absence (unfortunately unpaid) to get myself back on track. I can't afford to go back home to New Zealand but will stay with my partner in the UK for the 3 months. Hopefully this will be a step in the right direction! Thanks once again.

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