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About claribassist13

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    Advanced Member

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  • Loss Type
    Sudden/Violent Loss of Fiancé
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  1. Anti-depressants and Grief.

    KayC, that statement is entirely inaccurate. While the reasons for the chemical imbalance can differ from person to person (such as grief, genetics, etc.), depression is the result of a chemical imbalance within the brain. This is something that has been well-studied and is widely accepted. When faced with a traumatic event the brain will alter your neurotransmitter levels to essentially slow you down so that your brain can process the events and work on healing you. This allows your brain to deal with all of that while not having to worry about your making harmful/impactful decisions. Depression is essentially forcing you to slow down so you take the time to process things. The articles you have attached discuss the finer points between diagnosing different forms of depression. Yes, clinical depression is much different from major depression. Clinical depression is typically genetic or long-term. Major depression can occur as a result of a loss of loved one, negative intrapersonal views, etc. Most people will experience major depression within their lifetime and medication is usually not required to treat it. It is something that fades on its own with time. I do agree with you, and the articles you posted, that those looking to take antidepressants should try counseling and other support systems first. You need to go through your grief and you need to process that. However, if your brain is not altering your chemical levels back to what was "normal" then you are left with people who are unable to face their grief or deal with it in a healthy manner due to the fact that they simply cannot get out of bed, etc. All antidepressants do is help your brain regain it's normal neurotransmitter levels. And you are absolutely right in the fact that it is common to be overmedicated. That is not helpful either for the reasons that you pointed out. However, this is why you should be seeing a psychiatrist for this. You likely won't find the right medication right away and it can time to find the proper dosage. I met with my psychiatrist every month until we found what worked well for me. Along with that, any psychiatrist who is any good at their job will ask your several questions along the lines of what other treatment you have received, if you are going to counseling, etc. Any good psychiatrist understands and values a multi-faceted approach to treatment. Your advice is so spot on, KayC. I really do agree with most of what you said, and I hope you don't take this post as any sort of an attack on what you said. I just hate to see misinformation on antidepressants/depression. As a chemist and as someone who has done extensive research on the subject, I just want to share what I know. In the end, if the treatment works for you then that is what you need to do. There are many, many ways to get to the same end result.
  2. Anti-depressants and Grief.

    Zara, I'm glad I could give you some insight on a different perspective. In any case, no matter what you decide is best for you, you have support either way!
  3. Anti-depressants and Grief.

    Zara, It looks like I will be the minority opinion here, being a person who takes antidepressants and a chemist. Honestly, I was much like you when I began. I had never had to take antidepressants before and I waited until about 6 months in before I finally went to a doctor to talk about the possibility of taking anti-depressants. I didn't want to take them if it wasn't necessary. What I can tell you is that is has made a world of difference to me. KayC is right, you probably never needed medication before this traumatic event. However, it's important to take into account that your brain is not the same as it was before you lost your husband. For those who argue against anti-depressants because they are "mind-altering" drugs, I would encourage them to actually dig into the science behind depression and how antidepressants work. I wrote an essay on depression and antidepressants for my psychology class, which I have attached below if you care to read an introduction to the topic. Simply put, the loss of your husband and the subsequent grief of that loss has altered your brain chemistry already. Your brain is moving less of the neurotransmitters that induce happiness, motivation, concentration, etc. because it is keeping them within your neurons instead of sending them to other areas of the brain. Antidepressants allow your neurons to release more of the neurotransmitters when signaled, which helps to stabilize your mood. It does not take away the pain, sadness, or the actual depression. However, antidepressants do allow you to not dive too deeply into your depression. Essentially, it allows you to feel what you have to feel, but with less risk of falling into a clinical depression. What is important to keep in mind is that anyone experiencing depressive symptoms (as defined by the DSM-5) for more than 2 weeks has experienced a major depressive episode. Nearly everyone will experience one in their lifetime. Some episodes last for weeks, others for months, and other for years depending on a multitude of circumstances. In cases of major depression like ours, the depression will fade given time. It may take a lot of time, and that time will vary from person to person, but it does go away. There is no shame in giving your brain a bit of a boost so you can deal with your depression while still being able to somewhat deal with life as well. As I stated before, antidepressants do not take away your depression and they don't radically alter your mind. They simply balance out your neurotransmitter levels to give you some chemical balance again. You can certainly try other "herbal" remedies and the like, but it's all the same thing in the end. Herbal remedies only work because there are chemicals in the foods you are drinking/eating that interact with your brain chemistry in a similar manner. Any psychiatrist (and yes, you should see a psychiatrist for stuff like this, not your regular medical doctor) that is worth their salt will tell you that antidepressants should be done in combination with therapy/counseling. Prozac is a stronger medication. If you aren't comfortable with that, talk to your doctor about other options (such as other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or norepinephrine/dopamine reuptake inhibitors). Antidepressants are not a one size fits all, so finding the correct medication for you could some trial and error as well. Of course, the choice is all yours in the end. I can respect those who do not want to take medication. However, don't let that reason be because of the negative social stigma surrounding depression or your lack of knowledge in how depression and antidepressants work. All I can tell you is that taking antidepressants has helped me. It's allowed me to grieve without losing myself to it. It gave me back a tiny sliver of control over my own mental health. In the end, we are all just searching for a bit of relief. I sincerely hope that you find it. Final Essay.docx
  4. Morning blues

    You are likely going to feel that way for a while. You are only a short time into your loss and you probably still feel a lot of disbelief/denial. You go to sleep every morning, hoping that what you've experienced is just a bad dream, only to realize that it's all too real. My recommendation? Take each second as it comes and count everything as a victory. Don't push yourself too hard in the beginning. It's going to be difficult, but it is literally just 1 step at a time.
  5. fzald, I have never been one to deny that aspect of my relationship. I miss being able to hold his hand whenever I could. There was just something about holding his hand that could make anything better, no matter what the problem was. I miss the physical relationship we were just beginning. I miss us openly talking about our desires. I miss the learning curve, the genuine laughter as we tried to figure things out. I miss just being able to plop down right next to him and cuddle into his side, taking his arm as we walked across campus. I miss hugging him or having him hold me. I never realized how lonely I would feel having to go without his touch. Thanks for bringing it up. You are right in the fact that it is something we rarely talk about.
  6. Lost the love of my life 12/24/16

    Thank you, everyone! I'm just glad to be able to share what I've learned over the past year. I did not take care of myself very well, and it has come back to haunt me in many ways. I want everyone else to avoid that if possible. Caring for yourself during this time is truly one of the best things you can do for yourself.
  7. So tired..

    It's the kind of tired that sleep can't fix, and it wears us down quickly. Make sure you are being kind to yourself and taking the time to take care of you. It will be much better for you in the long run.
  8. Rock Bottom Feeling - Does it Get Better

    Yes, Francine, it does get better. You are only 2 months in at this point. You are kind of hitting the point in time where the loss becomes really, really real for a lot of people. You start to come out of the denial of it all happening and it hits you like a ton of bricks. The period between 2-6 months was, in my opinion, the hardest (aside from major holidays after that and the year anniversary). I truly do believe it is because we face reality at this stage in our journey. Friends start leaving us, other symptoms of our grief begin to set in... You still have a long journey ahead of you, but I can promise you that it gets better. I could have never believed that when I was in your shoes a year ago, but it's been a year for me now, and I can say that things are different. I don't think the hurt every truly goes away. I don't think it truly diminishes with time. I think we just become better at handling the pain; we grow to be able to live with it, not just simply survive with it. I went back to school 3 weeks after my fiance's death, thinking the same thing you did. I thought that if I could keep myself distracted that I would be alright. I ended up having a complete breakdown (of which I remember nothing about) and had to be escorted from one of my classes to the university's health services office. What I am trying to say is yes, make sure you have something to do, something to motivate you to get out of bed. However, don't overload yourself. Things like your memory and your sleep are only going to get worse for a while, so you need to make sure you have time to devote to taking care of yourself. It does get better, though. I promise.
  9. I am over a year in now, and I can tell you that the memories don't hurt forever. Sure, there are some memories that hurt no matter what. However, I have found that as time passes that remembering him, thinking of all the memories I have, don't hurt as bad as they did 2 months in (where you currently are). Most days I am able to handle them with a little smile. Some memories make me smile, others make me thoughtful... The hurt will never go away, but I would say that the pain is not as much pain as it is longing or just missing him. Things don't tear at my heart in the same way they use to. I enjoy it. I like being able to remember random things without feeling as though someone ripped my heart out of my chest. I promise that this will happen for you as well. Unfortunately, it just takes time.
  10. First meeting with grief councelor

    CKYdad, Please try to remember that you are only 2 months into your loss. There are feelings and realizations you have yet to experience, so you are right. Your grief is not getting better right now. This is a process, something that will take months to journey. Don't expect a couple of months or a single session with a grief counselor to cure you. She might not have anything to offer you right now, but as other realizations come upon you (as time passes) she may be able to offer valuable insight into your feelings. Like Francine said, you may not have the right grief counselor for you. I would suggest trying a couple more session or seeing someone else before you abandon the idea completely.
  11. Taking a Break

    Try to engage in some hobbies. At least give yourself something else to do so you can take a break from all of this. And I'm glad to hear you are taking a break. I took one for few months as school was going on and during my year mark. I think it has allowed me time to process other thoughts and feelings without the input of others. When you need us again, if you will, we'll all be here. Enjoy your break!
  12. Talked to another medium. Also, two thoughts for you.

    Jeff, It's been a bit of a rough week for me, but we all have those. Today hasn't been quite so bad, but I've also been in my research lab most of the day. It's easy to avoid people and get away from all the drama there. I'm glad that I've been able to make my meaning clear. There are days where I just don't make much sense to myself, let alone anyone else. I am so happy to hear what the medium told you. Whether you are skeptical or not, choose to take is as something. I would rather hold on to any scrap of hope than to dismiss it because I'm skeptical. I am looking into possibly talking to a medium myself. My scientist side is overly skeptical, but at this point, I figured that I really have nothing to lose. I'd like to think I can relate to a soul-to-soul type love. PJ was the only person I've ever dated, but I am a steadfast believer in the fact that when "the one" comes along, you just know it. I didn't understand that until I had my moment, but I knew exactly what is was despite my inexperience. There is a myth I've always like concerning soulmates. The myth is Greek in origin. According to this myth, the first humans were created with 4 arms, 4 legs, 4 eyes, 2 noses, 2 mouths... you get the idea. These human terrified Zeus, as he believed they hold powers that could overthrow his position as Ruler. To prevent that from ever happening, Zeus split each human in half and left them to wander aimlessly around the world in search of their other half. It seems gruesome, but I actually like the story. That is how I felt being with PJ, whole, complete. It was like I never knew there was a part of me missing until he was there to fill it. I'm sure you can relate to similar feelings with Mila. I am glad to hear that you are seeing someone. However, remember to not "lead" her on as the phrase goes. I am sure that you've probably filled her in on the pertinent details. It's just that the last thing you need is additional drama.
  13. Talked to another medium. Also, two thoughts for you.

    I've yet to find a good answer. I suspect I never will.
  14. Talked to another medium. Also, two thoughts for you.

    Jeff, You certainly did not give me the wrong idea. I just remember how much I disliked people telling me similar things along the lines of what I just told you. I absolutely hated it. So I try to not do the same things to other people. It doesn't always work out that way. I'm so glad that my words can help. I often feel like I am struggling to say something coherent, let alone meaningful. "Low-grade fever" is a good way to think of it. Sometimes it's manageable and other times it is unbearable. The important thing, always, is to just take care of yourself. I can completely relate to where you are coming from. I was completely content with never having a partner/significant other again. I hope I didn't come across as saying that you need to move on from Mila. I would never say that to anyone, intentionally. I can't imagine being with someone else besides PJ. Like you, I'm not sure that I am willing to ever risk my heart again like that. Besides, where do you go when you've lost your true love? I couldn't possibly have a relationship that was below what PJ and I had. Some people believe in multiple soulmates and all that kind of stuff, but don't know if that applies to everyone. I certainly don't feel that it applies to me. Believe me, I can understand where you are coming from. The loneliness is awful. I find myself missing that closeness, that intimacy the most. I miss having someone to see every day. I miss knowing that someone is waiting for me, that someone wants to know everything about my day. I miss having someone I don't have to think twice about in any situation. I am sure that you miss Mila in many of the same ways. Thanks! I've become quite the collector of quotes since his accident. I go and update the back of his cross (at the accident site) at least once a month with a new quote. It's something to do. I hope that today has been a bit kinder to you.
  15. Unsupportive Friends

    KayC, that is why I made a point to not reference an age when I said "younger". I, personally, would consider younger to be 60's and below... but that is also my perspective as a relatively young person. Either way, it's all frustrating.