Academia, depression, apathy, and meaning
January 18, 2014 11:27 AM Subscribe
I have been diagnosed with major depression for a couple years now (4-5). I am in a PhD program and about to graduate soon, couple months. I need small tangible things I can do everyday to feel like my life, my career matters, what I do everyday matters, put myself up to goals and challenges, and make an effort to achieve them. More inside.
posted by greta_01 to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I am on meds for the major depression (since more than a year) and the depression is not as bad as it used to be before meds. Its not super good either, but after talking with the p-doc and counselor, it seems like this is about how much recovery they would expect with meds.
My problem is, I still feel as though everything is meaningless. Its just like a gray, mindless, day-to-day existence where I don't much care about what happens to me. My counselor says I need to make efforts - her advice mostly comes down to "exercise everyday". I don't have energy issues as the reason I don't exercise, but I just feel like a lump of a body, that does not want to do anything at all.
I have to graduate soon 4-ish months, and I just feel like it doesn't matter anymore what I do. Theoretically I know it probably does, but in my mind, I just can't feel, or think that what happens to me matters - and I don't want to take any action AT ALL. That is one of the biggest reasons I'm having trouble finishing my thesis for instance. My PhD study was a horrendous experience, and I probably will go back to my clinical practice because grad school was utter misery for me - not necessarily because I lacked the brains but because of the depression, general misfortune with my adviser etc. (see earlier posts).
I've just sort of fallen out of the "circle of life", so to speak - I've stopped all contact with other people beside my family (husband, parents) because I feel utterly ashamed and guilty about all my failures (probably the depression talking, but its difficult to get out of that frame of mind). I don't care how I dress, how much I weigh anymore (200 lbs, for someone who was 150 lbs 5 years back), whether I eat or what I eat, how I live, whether I clean or not (from someone who used to clean apartment to relax before all this!), whether or not I meet my commitments. I've really just turned into someone I don't recognize.
I know I need to do something to stop this. Meds have helped in that they've stopped my crying spells (I don't, in fact, can't cry anymore for whatever reason - sometimes I'm stressed and feel like I want to cry, but I cannot), feelings of despair (despair has probably changed to "I don't care anymore"), my energy, and sleep. But living like this cannot go on - I want to be present in my life, feel my life, be able to influence it. I don't feel like I can at this point, but I want to believe I can.
Can you suggest small things I can do everyday to help? I am not sure if I articulated what I need - probably how do I internalize the belief and faith that I can change my life circumstances for the better from here?
I am not sure if books will help me at this time. I've read plenty and done nothing. I want to DO things to feel like I can change things. What do I do?