The Life You Save May Be Your Own

DID, knitting, sci-fi, and strong opinions

Post-Traumatic Depression January 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 3:39 am

I have severe, treatment-resistant depression.  I’ve been on every antidepressant under the stars and probably some other ones.  Really, I’ve pretty much exhausted the psych section of the PDR.  I even had 29 ECT’s in hopes of budging the intractable depression.

None of these attempts at treating my depression have worked for more than a few months.

Last week, my psychiatrist ordered a ton of bloodwork, hoping to find some physical cause for my depression.  The results of most of those tests came back today, all normal.  I was disappointed.

It’s weird to hope something physical is wrong with you, right?

I was hoping for some physical cause for my depression because physical issues are [usually] fixable.  Take a pill, have a surgery, change your diet–and then you’ll feel better.

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with a arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in the left frontal lobe of my brain.  It’s a neurovascular defect, basically a mass of veins and arteries that aren’t supposed to be there and are prone to going explodey and causing strokes and aneurysms.  I was convinced that the surgery to repair the AVM would also cure my depression, even though my neurosurgeon told me there was little to no chance of that.  It’s an appealing thought, though, that there’s an easy cure for my distress.

For years, I’ve been denying the fact that my depression is traumatic, not endogenous, in origin.  When my AVM was diagnosed and corrected, I hadn’t yet divulged the physical and sexual abuse to anyone.  Now, eight years later, that trauma is no longer the secret it was in high school, but I’m still looking for a non-traumatic explanation for my depression.

See, dealing with trauma is hard.  It hurts like hell, and things shift so gradually you don’t realize in the middle of it that things are actually getting better.  After my DID diagnosis early last summer, I went to a residential program that wouldn’t deal with my trauma/dissociative issues, so I had about a six-month reprieve from having to face the trauma.  Now part of me doesn’t want to get back into it.  I don’t want to think about trauma, talk about trauma, write about trauma, dream about trauma.

The quick fix for post-traumatic depression is appealing but ultimately illusory.  The trauma is the root of the depression, and the trauma has to be dealt with to improve the depression.  Frustrating but true.

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One Response to “Post-Traumatic Depression”

  1. Grainne Says:

    Oh I SO identify with this post. I know that feeling well of being disappointed with the outcome of a “normal” diagnostic test.
    I also suffer from PTSD (complex) with an underlying depressive/attachment disorder and, although I have done lots of work on the traumas specifically, I find myself just as lost as I was before I started. I don’t have all of the same symptoms as I used to (flashbacks etc) but the depression sits just the same.
    I think we need to address the “whole” somehow, in treatment, but I’m still not quite there myself.. ~Grainne


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