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Please feel free to share your valuable experience of recovery from an illness or the suffering experienced by you due to illness. The information will help others suffering from this illness to bear with fortitude.

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1. Fighting Depression

Have you suffered from depression? Have you been suicidal? Have you been fighting depression or seeking for cure without much support from family and friends? Don’t worry you are not alone. I am sharing my experience about my battle with crippling illness – depression, so that my successful story could bring some hope in your life. I was suffering from untreated depression for ten years. I was embarrassed to seek medical help or reach a psychiatrist. In those ten years I had approached my family doctor who advised some investigations to rule out physical ailment. I did not follow up with physical investigation for lack of will due to the nature of illness meaning due to depression. Yes! Depression can deprive you of initiative, ability to think clearly. I would describe depression with suicidal tendencies as a sword hanging over your head. You never know in your weak moments when you may take that ultimate step to end your life. Suffering from such life-threatening situation all alone with no family support can be unnerving. Then I changed my family physician who was a qualified physician from UK. He prescribed some sedatives and subsequently when I approached him for genuine physical ailment like indigestion, amibiosis, UTI, I found him treating me superficially. I don’t know if he thought I was hypochondriac. I suffered and suffered silently. I confided in my family, who brushed it aside saying, “Snap out of it”. They attributed my depression to being pessimistic and asked to take recourse in spirituality. They would ask me to engage in self-help books. Would they have done this if I was suffering from Cancer, ulcer, migraine, sinus or any other physical illness/breakdown? Wouldn’t have I been taken to a doctor and seen to it that I was treated for it immediately? This happens, as there is not much education, awareness about management of mental illness. When a person is suffering from mental illness there is no any visible physical discomfort manifestation like pain, wound, or swelling. In the absence of which it does not evoke the required attention or empathy it deserves. The patient is left unattended. With the inability to think clearly or logically the patient takes decision like quitting a job, breaking out of marital relationship. With a silly conclusion that may be the job is responsible for my illness. May be it’s the bad relation aggravating the situation. Such wrong decisions only compound the situation with unemployment, divorce and further alienation from society. I even contacted social workers, who were sympathetic and were good listeners. They helped me in ventilating my feelings. But by now my depression was deep-rooted and they could not see a need to help me reach a psychiatrist. Anyway, my depression got bad to worse, I began to feel suicidal now. Then one fine morning I mustered enough courage to barge into a psychiatrist office. This simple decision changed my life. She treated me with six months medication and subsequent regular follow up I started feeling better. If you too are suffering from depression please pick up the phone and call for help immediately, you will be sorry why you did not do this immediately. Why did you go through mental pain, suffering in silence? In my follow up sessions I was trained to mediate, relax and listen to therapeutic music. I was cleared of mental fog or interrupted attention span/ interrupted thought process. I was asked to engage in productive activities like gardening, reading, playing with children and slowing down. I was asked to take small steps. Take up short assignment so that accomplishing such tasks would give me confidence and then I could slowly put together pieces of my life. One of the biggest change I noticed during treatment was that I could now concentrate and do things I liked. This gave me happiness and now I know the happy state of mind depends on me and not on significant others. I suffered another bout of depression, 4-5 years later due to business pressure and yet another one again 2-3 years later. The doctor explained that my depression was endogenous meaning not due to psychosocial factors but due to secretion of certain chemicals in the brain, the imbalance of which causes depression. He explained me just like you would suffer from some infection due to break down in immunity system similarly people suffer from bout of depression precipitated not by any overwhelming experience, but due to organic reasons too. The lesson was not to be alarmed but once I noticed symptoms of depression I should seek medical help so that it is cured in the initial stages. This way I am not away from work on health grounds for long or let illness affect my family life. During therapy doctor called me a “highly functional patient that he had seen in his practice.” What he was explaining was that depression can strike anybody. It could afflict the above intelligent and the talented. Did you know world famous artist suffer from schizophrenia. So don’t be embarrassed reach for help and heal yourself now.


2. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Should America Prepare for a Mental-Health Crisis? Expert Says Terror Strikes Will Cause Millions to Need Help With PTSD By Daniel DeNoon Oct. 9, 2001 -- Millions of Americans will need treatment for psychological wounds suffered on Sept. 11, a trauma expert predicts. The wounds come from the very real medical condition known as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It's not something a person just gets over. Untreated PTSD can become a life-shattering chronic illness. "There is an epidemic of PTSD about to unfold in America. No one is talking about the manpower that will be required to treat literally millions of victims," psychiatrist Mark I. Levy, MD, tells WebMD. "It is not clear how these people are going to be screened, identified, and treated -- and by whom. ... This issue needs the immediate attention of senior public-health and mental-health planners." PTSD begins as an acute stress reaction from living through or witnessing a life-threatening event. This trauma obviously was worst for those who survived the 9/11 attacks, for the families of those who lost their lives, and for rescue workers. Even so, those who watched the horrifying events unfold on television went through a real trauma -- particularly those who watched them replayed over and over again. "What is totally unique about this situation is that the trauma for most people was around television images," says Levy, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and a private-practice psychoanalyst. "The images were so traumatic and so compelling. They are burned into our memory the same way a traumatic event is burned into the memory of a victim of violence." "You don't have to be at the bottom of the World Trade Center or the Pentagon to experience the symptoms," Russell J. Kormann, PhD, tells WebMD. Kormann is associate director of the PTSD program at Rutgers University's Anxiety Disorders Clinic. Studies indicate that at least one in 10 people exposed to a traumatic event will develop PTSD. Levy says that if the condition affects only a much smaller fraction of those exposed via TV, the number of cases still will be "mind boggling." Women seem to be twice as vulnerable to PTSD as men. A recent traumatic event -- or a past trauma that remains unhealed -- increases vulnerability. People who are depressed or who suffer other untreated psychiatric conditions also are at increased risk. By now, we're all familiar with the symptoms of acute stress: Trouble sleeping. Nightmares and or intrusive images of the tragic events -- or of prior catastrophes a person may have experienced. Frequent crying. Trouble concentrating. Numbing of feelings and a strong desire to avoid any mention of the event. These symptoms are normal reactions -- unless they don't go away. "It takes 30 days for an acute stress reaction to evolve into frank PTSD," Levy says. "At this point, these are symptoms of illness. It is time to treat it like any illness that has symptoms. It's like you were running a fever for a couple of weeks -- you should see a doctor. Going to a family doctor is not a bad idea, because most people resist going to a psychologist or psychiatrist." "The question is how do you determine what represents the beginning of psychological disorder and what is normal," Carol S. North, MD, MPE, tells WebMD. "At first it is hard to tell which is which." North, a psychiatry professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, studied PTSD in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. "In Oklahoma City, people who over the first few months developed a lot of avoidance and numbing responses were more likely to have PTSD," North says. "It is important for someone having a lot of problems to get to a psychiatrist who can examine him or her for proper diagnosis. People who are seriously ill may need medications for depression." A phenomenon that already has begun will peak at about six weeks after the attacks: people will get tired of hearing and talking about the events. This is exactly when people who are beginning to experience PTSD will feel most abandoned. "That is the time to be alert to colleagues and family members who might be floundering," Levy says. "You worry a little bit about what is going to sustain them when other people get busy with our lives. We need to look out for each other -- that is really the bottom line. It is very important that people tune into how family members and colleagues are functioning, and get them help if they need it. We all have to keep together in this thing.



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