Depressive Phases Every Few Months
I am 18 yrs old and I attend a local community college. I have these depressive phases every few months. I was wondering if there is something wrong with me? and whether I should see a mental health professional. Here are my symptoms:
During the month of August 2009, I suddenly started getting a little depressed. This was during college summer break. I would cry,I would not want to talk to anyone, I deleted all my friends phone numbers so that I don't contact them, I would sleep a lot, I was irritated, I would not want to meet anyone or get out of my room,I lost my appetite, I would argue or fight with my parents for small issues and would rebel against them. Then when fall classes started by September, I was normal again and I was happy. Then by mid Nov the above depressive symptoms started again. This time it was more intense and I was really anxious and frustrated and cried a lot more. Then one day I got so frustrated and sad that I just wanted to hurt myself. So I started banging my head real hard on my table. Hearing the banging sound my parents came into my room and they asked me to stop. But, I wouldn't and instead started thrashing the table lamp real bad. My father had to slap me real hard for me to regain my senses. Right after this happened I was normal and happy again and rather cheerful. But now recently during mid Feb I started getting the depressive symptoms again and this time I scream at people if I get angry. I lost weight during all these months. I was close to 59 kg before this started and then I was 52 kg and now I am 50 kg. I really need help on this cause my grades are starting
to get affected again. Before all this happened, I was happy and rather cheerful, but my grades were still bad and due to this I did not complete high school. Please tell what should I do.Ben's Answer
Meg - the pattern you are describing suggests that what you are experiencing may be more than unipolar depression ("typical depression"). Because of the sudden changes, the coming and going of intense periods of depression, the angry outbursts, head-banging, and so on - there may be more to this than simple depression. This may be Bipolar Disorder, but I couldn't say without a full evaluation.
Sometimes bipolar symptoms begin mildly and gradually become more intense with each episode, before it becomes obvious.
In these cases of depression at the early stages of bipolar disorder, doctors often MISTAKENLY prescribe an anti-depressant medication. And often, the antidepressant triggers extreme mania - like what you've experienced x10. Please be extremely cautious about this!
I've seen many people in psychiatric hospitals after a doctor casually gave them an antidepressant, and didn't know that they had an underlying bipolar disorder, or vulnerability to developing bipolar disorder.
I recommend you see a good psychiatrist or a Naturopathic doctor who is experienced in treating mood disorders including bipolar disorder.
There are ideas and suggestions on this website that can give you more direction in that area.
Seeing a therapist could also be a very important component of treatment and help you to keep your stress down, monitor your mood changes better, understand your triggers and stay more balanced (even if it turns out not to be bipolar).
You can learn more about alternative bipolar treatments
As a first step, I also recommend daily Fish Oil (omega 3), and a good quality B-Complex vitamin, and again, exercise, and weekly therapy, as a basic foundation of staying well.
Ben SchwarczSanta Rosa Psychotherapist