The last couple of months I have been battling with depression. I’m happy to report that I appear to be over this bout of depression. The last few days I’ve been in a pretty good mood. Sunday, I even felt energetic enough to give my apartment a good cleaning. Although I like having things nice and neat I dislike actual cleaning tasks such as sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing. Those things don’t get done when I’m depressed. Thus, the fact that is swept and mopped my entire apartment, and scrubbed the sink, shower, and toilet is an indicator that I’m no longer depressed.
This bout of depression set in a few days after I returned from Thailand. After returning from Thailand I moved back to KC to the basement studio apartment I lived in last year. The apartment was worse than I remembered. I had planned to start working at my document review job after returning to KC. It soon became clear that it was going to be a while before they had a position for me. I think the combination of those two things contributed to the onset of this bout of depression.
I’ve been depressed before. I’m not referring to “the blues” or being a little sad. I’m referring to clinical depression. I’ve battled with depression since I was a teenager. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I was first diagnosed with depression. I was lucky at that time to be able to participate in a psychological study to help with my depression. The study involved using cognitive behavioral therapy to treat the depression. I was skeptical that it would be effective, but I do believe it helped a little. That bout of depression did eventually go away even though I quit the study.
When I was in law school I became depressed again. The plus to becoming depressed in law school is that it isn’t that uncommon and they have resources available to deal with it. At my 1L law school the doctor put me on Lexapro and I had a couple of therapy sessions. It was the last month of the school year when I went to the doctor and got diagnosed with depression. That prevented me from being able to continue with the therapy. The Lexapro didn’t seem to have any effect on me. As far as I was concerned I might as well have been taking a sugar pill. Shortly, after my IL year ended I quit taking the Lexapro. That turned out to be a big mistake since my depression got even worse.
I transferred to a new law school for my 2L year. I didn’t seek out any treatment for my depression at the new school. It didn’t seem like the treatment did any good and I was embarrassed to admit I couldn’t fix my depression. After almost failing out of law school my 2L year I admitted to my academic adviser that I was depressed and I was referred to the school’s clinic. They psychiatrist there put me on another medication. I don’t remember the name of that medication, but it also had no effect on me.
After a dosage increase in the first medication still didn’t produce any results the doc put me on Wellbutrin. That medicine did have an effect on me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good effect. It made me feel drugged and fuzzy all the time. I didn’t take that medicine very long and refused to try any other medications.
I continued going to therapy for about a year more. I didn’t feel like it helped much. I eventually quit going as the depression went away.
I’m not sure why my depression went away this time. I think the chemicals in my brain get back in balance after a while. Getting them back in balance is largely out of my control. Things like exercise, eating healthy, and being productive help with the depression. Of course, those are all things I find very hard to do when I’m depressed. Now that I’m over this bout of depression I will try to exercise, eat healthy, and keep busy to hopefully lessen my chances of suffering another bout of depression.
To tie this in to personal finance I will add that depression has cost me a lot of money. It has kept from working long term at a job and building a career. I should have made a lot more money in my life at this point than I have. It was a factor in me switching law schools from a top 25 law school to a tier 3 law school and barely graduating from the tier 3 school. I think it was also a factor in the gambling addiction I had in my 20’s which resulted in bankruptcy. I lost thousands of dollars more even after the bankruptcy. Those are just a few of the ways depression has cost me money.
There is nothing I can do about how depression has affected me in the past. I just need to be sure that if I ever have another bout of depression that I don’t delay treating it.
10 thoughts on “My Depression History”
Over here in St. Louis there are tons of Doc Review Jobs – they’re constantly trying to find people. I know that’s not as helpful (I don’t know squat about KC Doc Review jobs) but I know they constantly message me with long term opportunities.
Keep at it.
I did look into taking a doc job in St. Louis. I’m working in KC now and should have steady work for a while. I’ll keep St. Louis in mind if I need a job next summer. It’s good to know that there are tons of jobs. Thanks.
You should look at a Keto diet. Cutting the carbs has a huge effect on mental well-being. I know because I am living proof.
I’ve been considering the Keto diet for weight loss. If it also helped with my depression that would be great. I’m glad to hear it helped you.
I appreciate your willing to talk about your depression and putting yourself out there to everyone. While I don’t usually comment, I do read your blog as regularly as I can. I hope that your moods will be more controllable from here on.
Thanks. Sometimes I’m not sure if anyone is actually reading the blog so I really appreciate it when a reader takes the time to comment.
CBT may give you insight and tools to deal with your depression, but it won’t change the underlying mood.
Pharmaceutical intervention will probably “succeed” in making you numb after 8-10 prescription and dosage changes. Not a fan.
Prior to permanently relocating back to Thailand, get a dog. (“Foster” shelter dogs if you think you can’t commit for the long term.)
You’ll get very modest exercise through mandatory walks, and you’ll meet more people.
Your companion’s obsession with you will both make you forget some of why you’re depressed, as well stimulate some actual joy chemistry.
Thanks for the advice. I don’t currently plan on using any substances to deal with my depression. I might get a dog one day, but I can’t have one where I currently live and it would be difficult to keep a dog since I’m often away from home. Being in Thailand does improve my mood.
Not a doctor. However, if your depression goes away every once in a while, and you have periods where you seem to do things like get bouts of energy to clean and be productive, and occasionally have an addiction problem, these sound more like the hallmarks of bipolar II disorder rather than straight depression. It would also explain why the antidepressants didn’t help. Bipolar II looks more like major depressive disorder than bipolar I does and is often misdiagnosed for depression, and the bipolar II upswings are hypomanic, so more like a super-happy, super-productive person than the mania of bipolar I. Diet and exercise and everything else can help, (keto/low carb paleo like someone mentioned, with a definite focus on a high quantity of non-starchy vegetables), and mood stabilizers like lithium or Depakote may also be effective if you do decide to go back to a doctor. Also, tomatoes have a high lithium concentration – they’re the plant that uptakes the most amount of lithium iirc, along with legumes, cabbage, mushrooms, and potatoes, but it is dependent on the soil they’re grown in as to the concentrations of lithium, which is likely why a diet like keto, which has a focus on fat intake ratios but also, secondarily, often focuses on eating a lot of non-starchy vegetables, will have mood benefits.
Thanks for the information. I’ll review the articles. Sorry it took me a while to approve your comment. It was in the Spam folder due to the links.