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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Recovering from Depression - am I on the right track?

    I have suffered depression for the past 18months. I am positive that I'm coming out of my deep dark place through healthy diet & exercise. I took myself off anti depressants as i couldn't handle the side effects & wasn't prepared to try a different kind. My doctor knows this & did tell me it wasn't the way to do it. Is it normal that I go for about 1 week with everything on track & then I seem to feel depressed & want to hide again, then I seem to lift myself out of that & try again after a couple of days. It's hard to keep getting up but I have to. Does that feeling become less & less after a while. I also do not have much emotion still. I don't feel love for my children or partner but have found my feeling for music again most of the time. Am I on the right track?
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  • Dr Jeremy Adams


    Dr. Jeremy Adams has a multidimensional background that includes a Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise psychology, a clinical postdoctoral fellowship in Chemical Dependency, and a … View Profile

    It certainly sounds like you're doing a lot of the ‘right’ things. Most important is the understanding that this is something that has happenned to you but, no matter how it might feel, it isn't you.

    Healthy diet and exercise can go a long way, as does your daily ‘normal’ functioning. Reinvolving yourself in things that provide pleasure is also extremely helpful. It's likely that, with time and ongoing exposure to regular and pleasure inducing activities (like your music), your ability to ‘feel’ will also return.

    It's worth noting that you don't need to do this by yourself. Your GP will be able to provide a mental health care plan (MHCP) which allows up to 10 Medicare rebates with a registered psychologist. I recommend looking around for a psychologist who is trained in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and, or cogntitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - he or she will be able to help keep you focused on your recovery and help you recognise (and modify) thoughts and behaivours that precede relapse.

  • Jenny Z

    HealthShare Member

    Thanks Jeremy, I was seeing a psycologist but she kept changing my appointments which made me feel worse so I gave up on her & that's when I made the decision to do this myself. Probably not the best way to go but am thinking that maybe I do need to go back & see her or at least someone else. It's is really 1 step forward 2 steps back.

  • Often enough, we do not know our own mind. In the process of dialogue with another person, we are able to clarify what we think … View Profile

    It's good that you have seen treatment of depression as involving a range of activities including exercise and doing the things you love to do. Relationships are more complicated and probably ask  more of us than music does, depression can make it hard for us to find anything left to give, so it makes good sense that music is the first place to start having feelings again.

    I would also add that you don't necessarily need to see a psychologist - other professionals are qualified to work with people in your situation and are also available on a Medicare mental health care plan. Other professionals can also provide CBT and ACT on a 10 session plan per year, so the more important task is to find a professional that doesn't muck you around with your appointments, and is able to engage with you to support you on the great work you're doing.

    So I would have a look around for a mental health counsellor - Medicare accredited if you want to go through Medicare - and have a chat to them on the phone first see how you feel about them and maybe try again. You deserve the support.

  • Jenny Z

    HealthShare Member

    Thank you Charlotte for you comment. I'm still just keeping my depression above water so to speak. It still is a day to day battle & no I haven't made an appointment to see a psychologist as I just can't deal with that at the moment. One bad experience & the thought just stresses me. My doctor gave me another referral. It's there if things change. I suppose it's trying to find the right one & how do you pick. You are right relationships involving depression are extremely difficult and lonely as nobody really wants to know so you just keep going as best you can. I'm sure my partner just doesn't know how to handle it so you don't mention it.

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I think that Jeremy and Charlotte have offered you wise advice.

    As far as anti-depressants are concerned, my impression is that it depends. For people with mild-moderate depression often approaches like CBT and ACT, with no pharmacology, can be very effective. For people (like me) with severe depression anti-depressants can help.

    My clinical psychologist has a nice image for this: “An anti-depressant can help in building a strong foundation. Once that foundation is in place I can work with you using CBT and ACT.”

    I strongly recommend CBT and ACT - both have helped me a lot.

    All the best.


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