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-   -   Depression; how do you cope? (http://www.horseforum.com/rider-wellness/depression%3B-how-do-you-cope-235025/)

whalegirl 07-17-2013 01:09 PM

Depression; how do you cope?
 
I was recently diagnosed with a form of depression called dysmythia, a chronic mild depression. Symptoms are very similar to full blown clinical depression, including decreased appetite, no motivation, sleeping a lot, and a general low mood. I have experienced these symptoms my whole life and I decided to get help after I realized I wasn't normal. I'm seeking treatment and my therapist said that sharing my feelings and actively finding ways to remind myself that not everything is bad. This is particularly hard for me, because very few happy things come to me when I try to think about it. Obviously riding is one of those things that bring me joy which is a main reason I started taking lessons again.

I want to know how other people (whether it be you or people you know) find ways to cope with your illness.
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katbalu 07-17-2013 01:18 PM

Exercise. Hiking, swimming, etc. something with goals, something that requires some determination. Something that gets your thoughts off of what's swirling around in your head all the time. Do something that puts your mindset and thoughts on something bigger than yourself, if that makes sense? That's always helped me. I hope that makes sense.
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Gale Hawkins 07-17-2013 01:27 PM

Short answer what works for one may be the opposite what another should do.

Physical action seems to help. I have picked up a brush blade or axle and worked on an overgrown bank or fence row.

We just got the minis for the daughter and wife but I find working with them every morning and evening insures I sleep well and they are the first thing I look out to see each morning.

Just moving vs setting helps me. Not everyone is happy about it but if something is getting me down I try to see what I can do to change that factor that is not highly illegal. :)

lilypoo 07-17-2013 03:42 PM

I have Dysthymia and it's been there since my teens (and I'm turning 40 next month). Anxiety is the worst "side effect" that I have, along with overeating and a general lack of motivation in many areas.

I've done some CBT and that helps but it's tough to fit in the appointments over long periods of time. I started antidepressants a couple years ago (actually weaning off this summer after two years) and also take an anti-anxiety med as needed (a benzo; I don't find them habit-forming) as needed.

I've noticed a huge improvement since I've been able to get back into horses. Having to get up and take care of my horse has been great for me. The exercise certainly helps as well. Just being down at the barn working on things and being around ALL the horses (and their people) has been very therapeutic for me. Grooming and shoveling is soothing to me. :)

This has all been great cause I have been on a bit of a down-swing this year...my oldest turned 18 and started college full-time and my next oldest is starting high school after home-schooling for many, many years. And like I said I'm turning 40...so I've been in a bit of a funk this year. :P

You gotta find what makes you feel better and force yourself sometimes. It helps if family/friends can alert you when you're NOT taking care of yourself. Sometimes what you really need to feel better is almost impossible to remember to do!

MsLady 07-17-2013 04:34 PM

Finding this thread is a life saver. I have not been clinically diagnosed with depression but I've been a nurse for over 18 years and I know better. I know I'm in a very dark place right now and need to find a way out (I have a drs appt Monday and my husband is very aware of how I am feeling). Spending time with our horses is the only time I leave the house, but it is getting too hot to stay long periods of time and the sun and I do not get along!
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xlionesss 07-17-2013 04:40 PM

As much as it's hard to get up, get dressed, brush your teeth, and go outside...the sun helps. It helps me a LOT to go to the barn and just spend time with my horses. I noticed a lot of times I really don't want to go, but I force myself and once I'm there- I'm much happier. It also helps to have someone to talk to at all times. It also helps to shower LOL, that usually makes me feel a bit better about myself, too.

lilypoo 07-17-2013 04:46 PM

I forgot to mention that it can be helpful to have your vitamin levels checked. I was severely deficient in D3, folate and B12. I went on weekly and then monthly B12 shots, folate pills and heavy doses of D3, tapering off into a maintenance dose. Low magnesium is also a big factor in depression/anxiety and I feel better when I supplement with that. 5-HTP, L-Theanine and other supplements have helped me as well. My doc is somewhat holistic so it helps that he's open to exploring diet and supplements as well as pharm. :)

demonwolfmoon 07-17-2013 04:58 PM

you probably dont want to hear this, but im not sure I cope so much as I survive. Most meds seem to have negligible impact. Same with counciling, so I only go when things are dire. Winter lack of sun is bad for me, very bad...it helps to get a little sun.

I do enjoy studying major related topics, and spending time with chickens. One because its fascinating, and the second because of their sheer simplicity. Theyre outside, not crapping on my rug or leaving hair everywhere, and they make the most soothing sounds.

xlionesss 07-17-2013 05:15 PM

Honestly, meds did help me. I have other things along with depression(anxiety and about 7 years of anorexia/bulimia). I think if you speak with a doctor, they'll give you insight on what medications may help you the most. It is definitely worth a shot, though. Some things cannot be helped without medication...kind of like someone who has fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, arthritis etc etc. We have medication to help us for a reason and there are MANY great success stories- me being one of them. I would of died had I not gone on medicine for my eating disorders, my bodily systems were shutting down from malnutrition. And look at me now! I'm chubbier than I'd like, but I'm healthy and happy with 2 great horses, a wonderful guy who helps me through my "relapses" and loves me at the weight I am, and my hermit-like personality!

whalegirl 07-17-2013 05:19 PM

Thank you everyone for your responses! I am going through CBT right now and hearing what everyone else does to help themselves is definitely a good thing. I work 50-60 hours a week, keeping a roof over my own head is hard enough, there's no way I could take on another living thing and this causes me pain. If I could, there is no doubt in my mind that that would help me. Please continue the conversation!

@mslady, please keep us updated! It's good to talk about it and have support from people even if we are strangers.
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