A Fibromyalgia Fairytale

If you read my FB post, you’ll know that I am NOT in the most amazing mood! And a parable is the only way I can even put into words the way I’m feeling

zombieOnce upon a time there was a gargantuan, purple she-monster, who lived in a small village, where she used to terrorise the man/boys (ages 29 – 35). Round and round the village, she used to lope (because walking hurt) after them – never catching them.

One day, she just gave up (or, at least, she is trying to). It was no use anyway; all the beautiful she-villagers were catching the man/boys – there were none left for the she-monster.

beautiful people

And no matter how much filler she used, she was never going to have gorgeous, full lips. No matter how much she dieted (especially with her Lyrica dosage), she was never going to be slim. No matter how much moisturiser she used (and that’s when she remembered), she was never going to be younger.

That same day, she realised that she was never going to meet anyone (she was unable to leave the village)…

At the same time as that realisation hit her, a group of man/boys whooshed by in their chariot and yelled out, at the top of their voices, “you #()^%ing, ugly (&%T!!!!’

And that was my day (and how I felt all day!)

(S)Lumbar Support

Understanding how insomnia and other sleep problems contribute to hopelessness can help all FM patients.

Insomnia and disturbed sleep are common among people with depression and other mental health problems. In fact, disturbing research indicates that people with depression are significantly more likely to experience insomnia symptoms. So, which one came first? The chicken or the egg?

Most distressing is that insomnia also has been linked to an elevated risk for suicide. A recent study offers new details about the relationship between insomnia and suicidal thoughts among people with depression.

Researchers at Georgia Regents University examined the possible influence of insomnia and disturbed sleep among patients with a history of depression and suicide.

59 FMG insomniaTheir study included 50 patients between the ages 20-84. All had received treatment for depression either as in-patients or out-patients, or in the emergency room. Seventy-two percent of the participants were women, and a majority—56%–had attempted suicide at least once. Researchers measured levels of depression and insomnia, feelings of hopelessness, as well as the presence and severity of nightmares and attitudes and beliefs about sleep.

On average:

  • Participants experienced moderate insomnia
  • Analysis showed an association between the presence and severity of insomnia and suicidal thoughts (as expected)
  • Among people with depression, insomnia contributes to a sense of hopelessness about sleep, according to researchers. These negative feelings about sleep, as well as nightmares experienced by people with depression and insomnia, may be critical predictors for suicidal thoughts.
  • Researchers also analyzed data to examine the possible relationship between nightmares and attitudes about sleep with suicidal thoughts, and found significant associations. When these additional sleep problems were included in the analysis, insomnia itself was no longer directly associated with suicidal thoughts.

This suggests that insomnia may have an indirect effect on suicidal thoughts, through the presence of these other symptoms, in patients who are depressed.

This is important new information in the understanding of the link between insomnia and suicide. The presence of these symptoms—nightmares and feelings of hopelessness about sleep—may be a more specific predictor of suicide risk among people with depression than insomnia in general.

And because FM patients often have feelings of hopelessness about sleep (Hey! many of us haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in years!), this is important research.

Earlier work by some of the same researchers explored the relationship between insomnia and suicide. Their study included 60 patients between the ages 18-70. Two thirds were women, and all suffered from major depression and insomnia symptoms.

The researchers found that the severity of insomnia among these patients was linked to degree of suicidal thoughts. More severe insomnia was associated with higher intensity of suicidal thoughts. In their analysis, researchers isolated insomnia from other symptoms of depression, such as low mood and inability to experience pleasure. They determined that insomnia is an independent predictor of suicidal thinking.

This latest study has built on those findings, looking with greater depth and specificity at how insomnia and related attitudes and behaviours of disrupted sleep may influence suicidal thoughts.

Other research has shown a strong association between insomnia and disrupted sleep and suicide for people with depression and other psychiatric disorders:

  • Hungarian researchers found that sleep disturbances and nightmares elevated the risk of suicide by as much as 4 times among men, and as much as 3 times among women. In this study, frequent nightmares and sleep disorders were associated with a higher risk of suicide than depression.

The connection between insomnia and suicidal thoughts, influenced by nightmares and the presence of negative attitudes and beliefs about sleep, may  provide important new options for suicide prevention and treatment of depression and suicidal thoughts. By identifying nightmares and dysfunctional, negative attitudes about sleep as important predictors of suicidal thinking in people with depression, the medical profession may, finally, be better able to identify those who are at greater risk for self-harm.

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

The wait is over! The results for the Depict Depression fundraiser Art Competition are out!

Congratulations to all winners – thank you for giving of your time, effort and money (donations) to a worthy cause.

As you already know Alisha from The Invisible F organised this competition to raise funds for Depression Alliance, a leading national charity which provides information, support and services for those affected by depression.

DA has been key in her own fight against depression and she wanted to give something back, as well as help raise awareness. There’s still a lot of stigma, misconceptions and negative attitudes towards people who suffer from depression. And while some people are understanding and supportive, many others aren’t and can’t seem to break their line of thinking unless they themselves have been affected.

This competition was intended to provide a forum for ‘discourse’ & expression. Talking about things isn’t only useful for raising awareness, it is part of the healing process and the way forward.

THE WINNING SUBMISSIONS

1st PLACE

The winning piece is a photograph orchestrated by Georgina Henshaw.

She captioned it “Friends of depression, not friends with me.”

Senior judge Lynda rightly described it as a “powerful” photograph, and in it we see some of the destructive things and habits that are often adopted by people who get depressed.

Georgina Henshaw

 2nd PLACE went to Llinos Thomas who penned a metaphorical masterpiece of the black dog.

She said: “In this poem I have used weather as a metaphor for how depression makes me feel.  I have tried to depict the loneliness, bleakness and intense symptoms of the illness.”

The wind whistling through my mind.
Thunder cracking in my ears.
Lightning piercing my eyes.
Is it my destiny to go through this
Alone?
Snow clogging up my brain.
Rain lashing on my face.
Hail scraping my ears.
How will I find the strength to
Overcome?
Sleet creeping down my neck.
Drizzle misting up my eyes.
Fog steaming up my mind.
Looking for a way out of the
Hell inside my head.

3rd PLACE was won by Margaret Whittaker who produced a well written creative passage illustrating a dark, but very real aspect of depression that faces many a sufferer.

Looking down she wondered if this was the best way. It was an awfully long drop. What would her feelings be on the way down? Once her decision was made there was no going back. The black mist crept closer. The stone in her stomach grew heavier. Her head was bursting. Her chest tightened and she could hardly breathe. No one would know. The streets were silent, malevolent and the creature in the blackness was of her own making. It was a devourer of souls, a destroyer of all that made life worth living. It was an emptiness into which she fell at last. It was not a spiritual place. When it was accomplished she was not present to witness it. A dog passed by and sniffed at the broken remains of a human being at the foot of the bridge.

4th PLACE went to Caroline, who whipped up this beautiful blast of colours is descriptive, insightful and offers hope. Caroline explained:

This piece represents a person in the thick of the depression bubble, where you can hardly see out and you definitely can’t feel anything.

All the natural beautiful things are visible but completly unreachable and untouchable, yet they are still there.

Other people can touch and see the beautiful natural things that are always all around us, but they can’t touch or see your thick misty bubble.

You are by yourself and all alone, no one can hear you shout and cry. Yet eventually, with help – you can learn how to break free.

4th PLACE WINNER Caroline B.

 

Prizes:

1st PLACE – Large Estee Lauder gift set
2nd PLACE – Small Estee Lauder gift set & book voucher
3rd PLACE – Vicky Scott artwork & book voucher
4th PLACE – Summer gift set & book voucher

If you have symptoms of depression, anxiety, or any of the other mood disorders mentioned, be sure to talk with your doctor about it. Left untreated, these symptoms can actually exacerbate many of your other symptoms (e.g., Anxiety causes stress; stress contributes to pain, insomnia, increased fatigue, digestive problems, etc.) and seriously interfere with your quality of life.

 

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D is for…Fibromyalgia?

No matter how positive you try to be, there are days when it really gets to you and you go tumbling back into that black hole that seems to eat all the good in your life. Transform your chronic lifeWendy from Transform Your Chronic Life has described this feeling perfectly in her post ‘Fighting the Five “Ds” of Fibromyalgia‘:

Like your most annoying relative, the five “Ds” of fibromyalgia tend to show up over and over.

Diagnosis – Depending on how long you’ve been sick, being diagnosed with fibro can either be a huge relief or throw you into a deep depression. If you’ve been hearing, “there’s nothing wrong with you;” for years, finding out that you actually AREN’T crazy is a major relief. On the other hand, once you realize that having a diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean the doctors are going to be able to actually DO anything but try to manage your symptoms, you’re likely to fall into the rest of the “Ds.” Even worse, a fibromyalgia diagnosis frequently leads to even more diagnoses, since there are multiple co-occurring illnesses that go along with it.

Desperation – Desperation is a big issue for people with fibromyalgia, whether it’s a desperate search for treatments that work or a desperate struggle to pay the bills. No two fibro patients have exactly the same set of symptoms, and the treatments that work for one may not work for someone else. The worse your symptoms, the more likely it is that you either won’t be able to work at all, or that you’ll only be able to work part-time, and both cause major financial issues.

Depression – Depression tends to be a frequent visitor in the lives of those with any chronic illness. You don’t only have to live with pain and other disabling symptoms, you get to hear your doctors telling you there’s nothing they can do for you, your friends and family telling you there’s nothing wrong with you, and society telling you you’re nothing but a lazy leech who would rather lie around and watch tv while everyone else works to support you. And people wonder why you get depressed?

Even if you have a job, the stress of trying to make ends meet on what little you can make can also lead to depression. If you can only work part-time, or can only FIND a part-time job, the situation is even worse. Do you buy medicine so you’re ABLE to work, or buy food? Do you pay the utilities this week, or hope they won’t turn them off before your next check so you can actually EAT this week?

Despair – The previous “Ds” have a bad tendency to lead to despair.  You feel trapped, and can’t find any way out. It can be a horrible cycle, and it’s not easy to find a way to break it, especially when financial issues play a part. When rent and utilities take every penny you can scrape together, and you spend days or weeks hungry, despair can eat your world.

Defeat – Finally, there’s defeat; the last, and maybe worst, of the “Ds.” Defeat is a stopper, because once you feel defeated, you’re likely to give up. “What’s the point of fighting any more?” you think. It feels like no matter what you try, it goes wrong; no matter what you do, or don’t do, things just keep getting worse. It gets to the point that you feel like everything you do makes the situation worse, so why bother to do anything anymore?

I’ll leave Wendy there for the moment…

…and answer by saying that it has to get better than this! This cannot be ALL there is. We must have been put here for a reason – we just have to find it!

Whatever…Nothing!

Yesterday, I (with my Mommy) was running late for my pain specialist. I hate running late. It stresses me out. I think it is incredibly rude. But, yesterday, when my Mommy was apologising for making us late, I was just ‘whatever.’

Then I thought about it and I’ve been ‘whatever’ for quite a while. It’s not such a bad feeling – it’s stress-less, very laid back and unemotional. But it’s very nothing.

I also noticed that I haven’t been writing anything personal on this blog – it’s been all about research and studies. It’s because there is nothing.

I think I’m on too many drugs…

When I was first diagnosed, (other than a quick dose of steroids) I was immediately put on Lyrica. Anytime I felt more pain, the doctors increased my dosage…my current Lyrica dosage is 225mg both morning and night.

I also take 150mg of Sertraline for depression – it used to 100 mg but during this ‘whatever, nothing’ stage, I felt that I needed something extra. My GP was happy to increase the dose. There’s also 1100ʮg per week of Thyroxine for my under-active thyroid; the Pill (I went off it (because who’s having any sex?) but my periods were unbearable!); and, of course, there’s all the supplements that we’re supposed to take: vitamin D, Red Krill Oil, D-Ribose, Sam-E, CoQ10, and a multi-vitamin.

Anyway, my point is that no-one tried anything except the Lyrica…why not?

So, having visited the pain specialist yesterday, we’re trying something else: I’m running out of all the supplements at the moment, so I’m just going to stop them as the bottles empty; and I’m going to wean off the Lyrica:

doses

Because this ‘whatever, nothing’ just isn’t good enough. I want more. I NEED more!

Fierce and Fabulous (and Depressed!)

Alisha - Invisible FOne of our fabulous FCK bloggers has been presented with Fighterzine‘s  first Fierce Fabulous Fighter Award: Alisha Nurse from The Invisible F. Alisha is a very worthy recipient of this award – you’ll have noticed I re-blog her quite regularly.

In fact, even before I found out Alisha was a Fierce Fabulous Fighter, I was going to let you read this one:

Depression Awareness Week

It’s officially Depression Awareness Week and I want to ask you to take time to either learn a little bit about this illness, or help raise awareness.

Photo by Gloria Williams

Photo by Gloria Williams

For a very common illness which will affect 1 in 5 people at some point in their lives 1) there are still ALOT of misconceptions about depression, and 2) people don’t realise the seriousness of it.

In case you didn’t know and you’re asking me now, what is depression?

It is the feeling of persistently feeling sad for more than a couple weeks accompanied by other symptoms. Read more about it by clicking on the link above.

Who gets depressed?

Depression can affect anyone. It does NOT discriminate. It doesn’t care who you are, what job you have, how qualified you are, or that you’re determined to be happy. You might be at risk of getting it if:

  • It already runs in your family
  • You have low self esteem
  • You live with a long term illness

But you can also get depressed for no reason. Perhaps you’re one of those affected by a chemical imbalance in the brain, (particularly of the neuro-transmitter serotonin which regulates our moods). Even if you don’t naturally have a lower amount of serotonin in your brain, if you get depressed it may lead to lower levels of this neurotransmitter, hence, the need sometimes for anti depressants.

So you see, it is a real illness caused (or causing) physical changes in the body. It is not imagined, it is not feigned and there is no one remedy that works for everyone.

Make a difference

Stigma attached to depression often causes people to hide. And if people are hiding they cannot get the help they need to get better.

Instead, many give up.

More than 70% of recorded suicides are committed by people with depression. In the UK and Ireland alone  more than 2 young people commit suicide every day.

This reality came back to haunt me this week as my friend almost ended a statistic. But thankfully, she belongs to the charity Depression Alliance which provides key volunter led support. We were able to get her medical help, and she remains in hospital recuperating.

I end now how I started. By asking you to do something to further this cause. Share some knowledge, learn about it, start a discussion, volunteer or donate to my fundraiser to raise money for Depression Alliance. It’s imperative to me because it is something I’ve lived since childhood.

I too have hidden, been ashamed, laid in hospital recovering from failed suicide attempts, been criticised and scorned, even by those meant to care for me. It’s taken me a long time to get to this place of talking openly because I realise someone has to, even if it’s not easy. Even one life saved is a difference made. The life saved could be someone you know even.

Thankyou for reading with an opened mind.

Gentle hugs :)

N.B. The Depict Depression fundraiser art competition is still open. Prizes include Estee Lauder gift sets, book vouchers and Vicky Scott artwork. Deadline Wednesday 17th April 2013.

(De)Pressing the Issue

Earlier in March, I told you about the Depict Depression Art Competition.

Depression can be a major part of our condition but what does it look like?

Once again, I am re-blogging The Invisible F, who is running the competition:

The Face of Depression

Photo by Alexandra Campo

Photo by Alexandra Campo

What does depression look like? I often ask people.

The question intrigues me. The answers, even more.

Depression is an enigma with many faces.

It doesn’t always looks like what we expect it to. And more importantly, people wear it differently.

You might already know that I’ve set out to raise money for Depression Alliance, a charity that I volunteer with and which has saved me on numerous occasions from the tight ropes of depression.

For my fundraiser I’m hosting an art competition called Depict Depression . In it, I ask people to illustrate depression in any art form – a painting, drawing, sculpture, a decorated cake, graffiti, poem, rap…  the point is to get people talking about this thing called depression. This thing that many people remain mum about. Ashamed about. And yes, sometimes ignorant about.

Why talk about it

In my homeland I never felt free to talk about the inner turmoil caused by the d-word. I covered it up, masked it, but in truth it was always with me, pinned to me. I was judged harshly as being anti social, ‘strange’ and timid.

I became very vocal about it long after I left. In A certain degree of sadness fills me for people who cannot talk about what they experience. Because for me, talking about it has helped me to understand it, so I can begin to deal with it. Slowly.

Even I, deep in the throes of depression, had misconceptions about it.

Talking achieves many a thing.  There is one thing however, that people always marvel at when they just start the dialogue about depression.

Picture1They’re always surprised at who suffers from it. Always the person they least expected. And somehow, people feel more encouraged to talk about their own battle with the black dog, because suddenly, they realise it’s affecting all kinds of people. They feel less isolated. There is someone they can relate to.

Example

She had a strut that stopped taxis mid traffic and left men with their tongues hanging like thirsty pups. Needless to say, she was a looker with confidence and charisma. A people lover, a friend maker. A booming career was hers. Yet, when we met, as she beamed about new happenings, I couldn’t help but notice the heavy bandage around her hand.

I asked.

She brushed it off. I didn’t ask again because I didn’t have to.

She’s had a long struggle with depression, and rough battle with self harm. Yet, were it not for physical bandages and scars that few eyes could see, none would know. Or guess. Or even have an inkling.

Depression doesn’t discriminate. Man, woman, boy, girl, whatever career, race, religion, sexuality… you name it. It can take hold of you.

Sometimes when I ask what depression looks like, I really mean, who does it look like?

The answer? Anyone. Everyone. You, me, her, him, them…

Why?

I am sad, terribly sad that friends I have at home are suffering in silence. That they cannot talk about the agony they bear. That they must hide it away and keep up appearances.

Why? Tell me why??

Why can’t you be more understanding? More compassionate towards them? And stop with judgemental attitudes and opinions. Stigma. Forget what the society tells you about mental illness. Forget what it tells you about depression. Just listen. Listen with an opened heart.

And look.

Look at little more closely.

She is your sister, your mother, your ma…

He…. he is your lover, your child, your friend

Look a little more closely… it could be you.

*Far fetched? Nope! Depression affects 1 in 5 people at some point in their lives. That’s very common. Help someone by listening today. Be kind. Smile.  If you can, donate to a charity that helps those who suffer by supporting them. Depression Alliance makes a difference and I know because they’ve helped me. You can enter my fundraiser art competition and join the discourse. If you don’t want to, you can still donate securely here.

Guilt: the Gift that Keeps on Giving

FCKHaving started FCK (a directory of blogs that educate, support, enlighten, inform, inspire and motivate people about and with Fibromyalgia), I have had the privilege of discovering so many blogs that I may never have seen if not for this project.

One of those blogs is Same Burn…Different Flame. Cathy is about 12 types of awesome, 10 of which she hasn’t quite put her finger on (yet!) It isn’t her goal to change the world or end our nation’s poverty crisis…. but hell, if she could, she would TOTALLY do it.

One of Cathy’s blog posts has resonated with me greatly – here it is:

I’m sorry: An open letter to my loved ones

Dear family and friends,

First and foremost, I’m sorry.  I feel like I’ve let you down in many, many ways.  And there is nothing to say, except, “I’m sorry.”

I can honestly say that I don’t have a handle on what’s happening with me, lately.  At one point in the not-so-distant past, I was lively and energetic.  That girl is…. well, she’s gone now.  And I don’t know where she went.

I feel like I can never get enough sleep.  Never.  I’m exhausted.  During the week, I force myself to get out of bed and carry on with my day.  I get up at 5:30 am, drive to work, work all day (most of the time without a lunch break), drive home and finally take my shoes off at 6:00 pm-ish. I. Am. Exhausted.  I make dinner (which, admittedly, isn’t all that exciting these days), and I collapse on the couch, too exhausted to do anything else.  By the weekend, I lie around the house, unmotivated to do anything but sleep.

And then, there’s the pain.  I don’t know that you would ever understand, unless you have been where I am right now.  Miserable doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Imagine, if you can, the last time you were really sick.  Then, imagine the last time you were really sore.  Like… for me?  It’s like the time I had walking pneumonia, combined with feeling like I had just done a half-marathon.  I dread waking up, because moving in the morning is like trying to break out of an invisible cast.  I’m stiff.  It hurts.  And I don’t know if it’s just a morning thing, or if I’ll be suffering all day.  Once I get going, random things will bother me.  My hips will hurt.  Or my toes will burn.  Or my back will ache.  Or I’ll be itchy.  Or my legs will cramp.  Or I’ll have a headache.

Good God… the headaches.  They’re not to be underestimated.  It could be a dull, constant headache.  Or Satan can be gripping my brain with his red-hot, pokey fingers.  They can last a few hours, or for days.

I get tired of taking medications.  Side effects from them mean that I have to take other things to try to feel better.  For example, the Tramadol makes me itchy.  So I have to take Bendryl to alleviate the itchiness.  But Benedryl makes me sleepy.  So I have to take an energy pill.  The energy pill makes the pain worse (not sure why).  So I have to take Tramadol.  And so it begins, again.

……I carry guilt with me.  All the time.  I feel guilty because I am tired.  I feel guilty because I am lazy.  I feel guilty because I am crabby.  I feel guilty because I am distant.  I feel guilty because I’m weak.  I feel guilty because I’m losing the battle.

I don’t have the answer.  But it isn’t for lack of asking the question.  Please, don’t stop loving me.  Don’t leave.  Don’t close your ears and your heart.  I’m trying.

Maybe, someday, the girl that you used to know will come back.  Until then, just keep loving the girl that I am, now. Hug me.  Tell me that I’ll be okay.  Hold my hand.  Talk with me.  Let me vent.  Help me forgive myself.

With unparalleled love,

me

Feeling the same way? Feeling guilty?

Extreme Ups and Downs…Bipolar Spectrum?

What is the first thought that jumps into your head when I mention the word BIPOLAR?

Now…why am I asking you this?

According to a recent study in Italy, FM is related to bipolar spectrum disorders, particularly the hypomania/overactivity component.

110 FM patients were assessed for bipolar spectrum disorders using both categorical and dimensional approaches. The first was based on a version of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders-Clinical Version interview, modified to improve the detection of bipolar spectrum disorders, the second on the hypomania symptom checklist HCL-32, “which adopts a dimensional perspective of the manic/hypomanic component of mood by including sub-syndromal hypomania.”

Bipolar-Disorder-testSeventy per cent of patients were diagnosed with bipolar spectrum disorder based on DSM-IV, while 86.3 per cent of patients were diagnosed according to the Zürich classification.

The study showed “a higher-than-expected co-morbidity between fibromyalgia and bipolar spectrum disorders among patients with fibromyalgia as compared to the general population,” the researchers concluded. “The rate found … is higher than the top prevalence rate of bipolar spectrum disorders reported in the literature from community studies.”

The bipolar spectrum is a concept which observes that many people with depression and other conditions share many of bipolar disorder’s symptoms. Under this concept, such people’s conditions are within the “bipolar spectrum,” without qualifying as true bipolar disorder. Although many psychiatrists find the bipolar spectrum concept useful, it has not yet been adopted widely.

Bipolar disorder is commonly believed by psychiatrists to have two main forms:

  • In bipolar disorder I (bipolar I), a person has at least one manic episode lasting at least a week. He or she also has multiple episodes of major depression. Without treatment, the episodes of depression and mania usually repeat in erratic cycles, with depression outnumbering manic episodes about 3 to 1.
  • In bipolar disorder II (bipolar II), a person has a milder form of mania, called hypomania, lasting several days or longer. Episodes of depression outnumber hypomanic episodes more than 30 to 1, in most people with bipolar disorder II. Because hypomania can be mistaken for ordinary happiness, bipolar II may often be misdiagnosed as depression alone.

Although these people do not meet the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder, some psychiatrists believe they have something important in common with people with bipolar disorder. Symptoms that may overlap between bipolar spectrum conditions and bipolar disorder include:

  • Depression with rapid mood swings (seen in many mental conditions)
  • Prolonged irritability (possibly a form of mania)
  • Impulsivity (common during manic episodes)
  • Euphoria and high energy (common in substance abusers)

Major and minor bipolar spectrum disorders are not associated with differences in demographic or clinical characteristics, suggesting that FM, rather than being related to depression, is related to bipolar spectrum disorders and in particular to the hypomania/overactivity component.

bipolar2Personally, I find this really difficult to digest. To me, it is completely understandable and reasonable (and nothing like a mental disorder) to have extreme downs when we feel like crap (which, for most of us, is more often than not); and extreme ups when the pain subsides and we can actually do something that makes us happy. This would make most of us fit within the Bipolar II category

Take the online bipolar test (Goldberg Bipolar Screening Test). It can help determine whether you might have the symptoms of bipolar disorder (Bipolar I or II).

Remember, this is NOT a diagnosis. Only a doctor or qualified mental health professional can make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or major depression and recommend treatments. You can use the results to decide if you need to see a health professional to further discuss diagnosis and treatment of adult bipolar disorder.

Depression Depiction

Depression and illness are two things that many FM sufferers will tell you go hand in hand (lucky us!). It is almost a cyclical concept in the same way that stress would manifest itself. Indeed depression is a kind of stress only more deeply rooted therefore making it harder to alleviate and harder for the person suffering from it to cope with. Depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, personality changes and panic attacks are all symptoms that may accompany FM.

They do not cause FM; in fact, they are more likely to be the result of it.

If you have symptoms of depression, anxiety, or any of the other mood disorders mentioned, be sure to talk with your doctor about it. Left untreated, these symptoms can actually exacerbate many of your other symptoms (e.g., Anxiety causes stress; stress contributes to pain, insomnia, increased fatigue, digestive problems, etc.) and seriously interfere with your quality of life.

People suffering from illnesses however experience depression in a variety of different ways, but for the most part it has several things in common which are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to sleep
  • Withdrawn behaviour
  • Bouts of irritability
  • Lack of interest in oneself or surroundings

There are just a few of the symptoms that can be associated with depression but each of us that suffers from a bout of depression can do so and exhibit a different set of symptoms.

This is one of the problems of FM. We, especially those suffering from the condition in its most severe and chronic form, will more often than not find ourselves at the whim of depression. Depression can take a hold if fatigue continues and we are not able to sleep, thus relieving the symptoms of fatigue and tiredness. The problem for a lot of us is that FM is not going away – we can only manage it, so we need to adapt to our new situations as soon as we can.

blackdog

Some call it a black dog, for The Invisible F, it’s been a black fog.

What does Depression look like to you?

Depict it for a chance to win cool prizes (to be announced soon) and more importantly, raise money for a very worthy cause.

Depict DepressionHere are the rules:

1. Draw, paint, write a poem, construct something, say something…be creative and use any art-form you like to depict depression.

2. Give it a name and write a few lines (no more than 100 words) on what the piece means.

3. Submit it, with your name and mailing address, to:

theinvisiblef@hotmail.co.uk and/or
The Depict Depression Art Competition C/O Alisha Nurse
8 Bence House, Rainsborough Avenue,
SE8 5RU

4. There is no entry fee but I’m asking you to please make a donation to Depression Alliance with your submission. You can donate securely through my JustGiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Alisha-Nurse

Or text  DPRE50 £5 to 70070

Alternatively, you can make out a cheque or mailing order to Depression Alliance (details right below) and let me know.

Depression Alliance
20 Great Dover Street
London
SE1 4LX
Email: information@depressionalliance.org

5. Deadline for entries midnight April 17th 2013

6. Winning entries will be featured on my blog www.theinvisiblef.wordpress.com and used online to raise awareness of depression.

FOR MORE INFORMATION EMAIL:  THEINVISIBLEF@HOTMAIL.CO.UK

Depression Awareness Week is the 15th – 21st April 2013. You can find out more about depression here.

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