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Is it really depression without physical self harm? Watch

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    You sound a bit like me, although I'm not that bad and haven't been diagnosed with depression (hopefully it's not even depression, just general sadness or something). I don't think you need to self-harm though. I'm terrified of death as well so I wouldn't see the point in suicide ever :dontknow:
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I'm sorry if some people consider this to be a stupid question; I'm just finding it hard to assess how I'm feeling, and unsure whether it's worth continuing to take medication that may be helping but may be making me worse, knowing that I don't necessarily have the principal/most worrying symptom of depression. On the other hand, I know I'm not coping very well and at 22 I am pretty damned sick of the same problems that have been dogging me for years returning just when I think I've overcome them I'm really starting to wonder if there's any point continuing in academia, even though it's always been what I've loved, if it's also going to keep causing me this much misery; but then I suspect the problems will follow me whatever I try to do

    Sorry, I realise this is very negative and self-defeating. I have been trying very hard to pull myself out of this by getting into an exercise routine, getting help, etc - but the work is still paralyzing me and I am afraid.
    If it helps at all - I've found academia to be extraordinarily tolerant of mental health issues; many, many academics struggle with depression or associated problems. In many ways I think it goes hand in hand with the sort of self-motivated creativity that's required of an academic. In fact I think the two are quite synergistic. I often wonder myself whether my motivational and productive 'dips' are what prompt low moods or whether it's the other way around. In any case for many people the two are quite associated and you certainly wouldn't be the only one in such a boat. If it's what you love doing, don't throw in the towel over your psychological state. I think it's also quite normal to question yourself and your suitability, and as it's been pointed out to me, the hopelessness of depression often exacerbates feelings of low intellectual self-worth. Get help, and be reassured that it will still be there for you when you're ready for it.

    (I've often thought there should be some kind of PhD counselling sessions run by universities, because it's that bloody common!).
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    (Original post by IlexAquifolium)
    If it helps at all - I've found academia to be extraordinarily tolerant of mental health issues; many, many academics struggle with depression or associated problems. In many ways I think it goes hand in hand with the sort of self-motivated creativity that's required of an academic. In fact I think the two are quite synergistic. I often wonder myself whether my motivational and productive 'dips' are what prompt low moods or whether it's the other way around. In any case for many people the two are quite associated and you certainly wouldn't be the only one in such a boat. If it's what you love doing, don't throw in the towel over your psychological state. I think it's also quite normal to question yourself and your suitability, and as it's been pointed out to me, the hopelessness of depression often exacerbates feelings of low intellectual self-worth. Get help, and be reassured that it will still be there for you when you're ready for it.
    (I've often thought there should be some kind of PhD counselling sessions run by universities, because it's that bloody common!).
    Thanks I've actually always been surprised by how tolerant my lecturers have been regarding extensions and providing support. I find it really difficult to determine "cause and effect" as well. I've started counselling and everything but I am still having severe mental blocks about the essays. Do you ever feel defeated by the amount of criticism that's out there now? I sometimes feel that the battle to be original is an uphill struggle.

    When I went to see my GP he mentioned that many of the university's academics suffered from depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and that analytical people have a tendency sometimes to turn these skills in on themselves which can be very counter-productive. Some of my friends and family have advised me to throw in the towel because the aim of life is to be happy and I have such difficulties and barriers about the work that it makes me too miserable too often. Sometimes I agree with them and it's so dispiriting when these problems keep recurring, but I also know that the greatest pleasure I've ever experienced has come from my subject and I can't imagine a career that doesn't involve it in some way.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thanks I've actually always been surprised by how tolerant my lecturers have been regarding extensions and providing support. I find it really difficult to determine "cause and effect" as well. I've started counselling and everything but I am still having severe mental blocks about the essays. Do you ever feel defeated by the amount of criticism that's out there now? I sometimes feel that the battle to be original is an uphill struggle.
    Oh absolutely, all the time. The thing I hate about academia is the cut-throat nature of it - the constant pressure not only to be original yourself, but to do so often by criticising someone else's work. I don't like the competitive aspect of it in the least but I guess all you can do is tread your own path and do your best to maintain decorum if someone starts attacking you!

    When I went to see my GP he mentioned that many of the university's academics suffered from depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and that analytical people have a tendency sometimes to turn these skills in on themselves which can be very counter-productive.
    I agree with that assessment entirely. 'I think, therefore I am...depressed'. If you spend all day reading and pondering it can become all too easy to get locked in your own head, and that can be exceptionally destructive.

    Some of my friends and family have advised me to throw in the towel because the aim of life is to be happy and I have such difficulties and barriers about the work that it makes me too miserable too often. Sometimes I agree with them and it's so dispiriting when these problems keep recurring, but I also know that the greatest pleasure I've ever experienced has come from my subject and I can't imagine a career that doesn't involve it in some way.
    Your family are right in that you need to find something that doesn't make you unhappy (but I think that's different from 'makes you happy'). To me, being content with yourself is something that can't come from your job - but finding intrisic pleasure in your work and output can be very important to self-esteem. Have you read Affluenza by Oliver James? I found it quite helpful in reconceptualising how I see my 'low' work points. Often making your work 'non-destructive' is as much a matter of how you approach it as what the job is. I find having a routine very helpful and forcing myself to work at certain times, see people a minimum amount a week, eat at fixed times, etc. I cook a lot if I've hit a rut. Pets help. Etc, etc - there are probably life changes you can make that will help you blunt the low points and experience the satisfaction of progress more often.

    Anyway, since I haven't said already - you're more than welcome to PM me anytime if you want a rant / chat. Have a look at the library thread in the postgrad forum too, we moan a lot.
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    You don't have to self-harm to be depressed. It may just be that those who do tend to post on forums/depression threads.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I had a similar experience; I think your way of looking at it is a very positive one though, I will try to adopt that approach
    Well, up until this experience I wanted to be an academic, in which case the MA is essential. You're completely right and one of my biggest fears has been turning out like my mum and giving up on things only to find that this makes my whole life one of bitterness and depression. Unfortunately though I suffer from an unrealistic/unhealthy perfectionism which causes me anxiety and panic attacks about my work, which in turn helps to bring on the depression I think. I've found that if I try to focus on the degree as part of a career path I start thinking that all my marks have to be amazing, etc and become frozen with fear in case the essays don't turn out well enough. I know it's irrational and that logically speaking it's better to get anything in than to drop out - I also know that I've never actually received a dismal mark for anything I've handed in - but sadly my rationality goes out of the window at these times and while I know these things I cannot feel them.
    Mostly I think I miss my friends from undergrad. I also have a tendency to lock myself away and not get enough exercise. I've spent the last few weeks forcing myself to act in these areas and thus feel a bit better, but am still getting nowhere work-wise. Sorry to rant again :o: I really appreciate your taking the time to read and respond, thank you :hugs:
    We have quite a lot in common. One of my fears is also turning out like my mum, who was an alcoholic most of her adult life, abandoned my brother and me and then died. But knowing what I could turn out like if I give up is one of the things that keeps me trying my hardest in everything I do.

    Surely there are a lot of great people on your postgrad course to socialise with? Focus on making friends with these people, which will both solve the problem of being locked away and of missing your undergrad friends. It might also allow you to compare work with people on your course, which might be a way of assuring you how well you're doing in assignments.
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    Yeah bloody hell do NOT self harm, I don't know how people can bring themselves to do and what will they actually get out of it.
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    Self harm and depression doesn't have to be related. I've had similar experiences to the ones you did, I got diagnosed with clinical depression after my teacher found out I had multiple times attempted to take the easy way out (no self harm, but really tried to end my life). I loved my subjects and took such an interest in it, but the work load of 5 A2s and an extra AS was just too much. Similarly to you I'm a perfectionist, I'd rather redo an essay 3 times to make it look neat on the paper then handing it in first draft, same with maths mixed exercises I'd do them 2-3 times before feeling pleased enough to hand them in.

    A lot of people seem to think people who are depressed have to slef harm, it's not like it's a criteria. A lot of people who are depressed don't self harm, and a lot of those who self harm are not depressed. Also thinking about suicide doesn't seem to link to self harm, since those who cut themselfs in self harm tend to do it a lot more lightly and in multiple places than those wishing to end their life (just an example). Just because you're not self harming it doesn't mean you're not depressed, and I think it's impressive that you're trying to sort all of this out yourself. Maybe you just need to slow down, my doctor described my characteristics as "presentation anxiety", because I always felt like I had to do better and even then it still wasn't perfect. If your case is similar to this, just going home one day putting your legs up and watch a film really does wonders sometimes.
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    (Original post by IlexAquifolium)
    Oh absolutely, all the time. The thing I hate about academia is the cut-throat nature of it - the constant pressure not only to be original yourself, but to do so often by criticising someone else's work. I don't like the competitive aspect of it in the least but I guess all you can do is tread your own path and do your best to maintain decorum if someone starts attacking you!
    I agree with that assessment entirely. 'I think, therefore I am...depressed'. If you spend all day reading and pondering it can become all too easy to get locked in your own head, and that can be exceptionally destructive.
    Your family are right in that you need to find something that doesn't make you unhappy (but I think that's different from 'makes you happy'). To me, being content with yourself is something that can't come from your job - but finding intrisic pleasure in your work and output can be very important to self-esteem. Have you read Affluenza by Oliver James? I found it quite helpful in reconceptualising how I see my 'low' work points. Often making your work 'non-destructive' is as much a matter of how you approach it as what the job is. I find having a routine very helpful and forcing myself to work at certain times, see people a minimum amount a week, eat at fixed times, etc. I cook a lot if I've hit a rut. Pets help. Etc, etc - there are probably life changes you can make that will help you blunt the low points and experience the satisfaction of progress more often.
    Anyway, since I haven't said already - you're more than welcome to PM me anytime if you want a rant / chat. Have a look at the library thread in the postgrad forum too, we moan a lot.
    Thanks a lot for your help and advice I do think getting locked in your own head is a very real danger. That's certainly what seems to happen to me... I'm very bad at finding a balance in life; I go through phases where I procrastinate too much and phases where I become an utter workaholic to the extent that it usually triggers my depressions and panic, because the essays/research take over my life. I try to go out to the cinema or something but I find that the essay idea is constantly turning over in my head. Then this stops me from sleeping too and finally ends up making me feel that nothing I write will be good enough. I've never read Affluenza but I've just ordered a cheap copy on amazon.

    I think I need to work harder at establishing a routine. Yours sounds very healthy - have you always worked in that way?
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Self harm and depression doesn't have to be related. I've had similar experiences to the ones you did, I got diagnosed with clinical depression after my teacher found out I had multiple times attempted to take the easy way out (no self harm, but really tried to end my life). I loved my subjects and took such an interest in it, but the work load of 5 A2s and an extra AS was just too much. Similarly to you I'm a perfectionist, I'd rather redo an essay 3 times to make it look neat on the paper then handing it in first draft, same with maths mixed exercises I'd do them 2-3 times before feeling pleased enough to hand them in.
    A lot of people seem to think people who are depressed have to slef harm, it's not like it's a criteria. A lot of people who are depressed don't self harm, and a lot of those who self harm are not depressed. Also thinking about suicide doesn't seem to link to self harm, since those who cut themselfs in self harm tend to do it a lot more lightly and in multiple places than those wishing to end their life (just an example). Just because you're not self harming it doesn't mean you're not depressed, and I think it's impressive that you're trying to sort all of this out yourself. Maybe you just need to slow down, my doctor described my characteristics as "presentation anxiety", because I always felt like I had to do better and even then it still wasn't perfect. If your case is similar to this, just going home one day putting your legs up and watch a film really does wonders sometimes.
    Hi,
    I'm really sorry to hear that you've also had a rough time with these issues, but judging by your understanding of what you went through and your advice it sounds like you've found coping strategies that work for you, which is great Yes the perfectionism is a problem - mine becomes an absolute obsession and sometimes I would even rather crash and burn by handing nothing in rather than writing something I don't feel is ever going to be good enough. When this happens I tend to get counselling and extensions though, which is how I've just about kept going thus far. Thanks for the advice and hope you're feeling better about things!
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    (Original post by jannike)
    We have quite a lot in common. One of my fears is also turning out like my mum, who was an alcoholic most of her adult life, abandoned my brother and me and then died. But knowing what I could turn out like if I give up is one of the things that keeps me trying my hardest in everything I do.
    Surely there are a lot of great people on your postgrad course to socialise with? Focus on making friends with these people, which will both solve the problem of being locked away and of missing your undergrad friends. It might also allow you to compare work with people on your course, which might be a way of assuring you how well you're doing in assignments.
    I'm so sorry to hear about what happened with your mother, that must've been incredibly hard for you. It sounds like you cope remarkably well under the circumstances, and I think that your decision to keep trying your hardest at things is by far the best response. I need to get out of the defeatist "I'm inevitably going to end up like her" attitude that my mum's drummed into me and adopt your kind of attitude, I think. Maybe CBT would help.

    There are and I do spend time with people from my course, but I actually find it a bit threatening at times because my self-esteem is very low and you find at postgrad level people can be pretty competitive. Even when I know I've done better than other people I tend to put myself down. But these are things I need to work on and change.
    Thanks for reading and helping and can I just say how impressed I am with your attitude towards life after what you've been through. Best of luck with everything
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    (Original post by Diaz89)
    Yeah bloody hell do NOT self harm, I don't know how people can bring themselves to do and what will they actually get out of it.
    Why people do it and what they get out of it is about half way down the link: http://www.thesite.org/healthandwell...peopleselfharm
 
 
 
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