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Depression Poll

Discussion in 'General Symptoms' started by Valentijn, Jan 6, 2015.


Are you depressed?

  1. Yes.

    53 vote(s)
  2. No.

    88 vote(s)
  1. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

    Many studies show high rates of depression in CFS patients, but usually use inappropriate questionnaires which take physical and cognitive symptoms as an indication of depression. Hence actual rates are difficult to even guess at.

    So the one item in this questionnaire is a simple question: Are you depressed? A diagnosis of depression is not sufficient, unless you agree that you feel depressed. If you are not depressed, but only because of ongoing treatment/medication for depression, then please answer "yes".

    I realize the options are very dichotomous, but please select the answer which you feel is most accurate most of the time.
  2. jerrymcfadyen

    jerrymcfadyen Senior Member

    East Bend, NC USA
    I've suffered with depression since my wife died in 2001 which was before CFS/ME. Dealing with the constant pain and fatigue has made it worse and have had to make adjustments in medication. I'm sure I would benefit from haviing a therapist but just can't afford that living on Social Security disability.
    jimells, Wayne, MeSci and 2 others like this.
  3. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

    After having clinical depression - whatever that is, considering my thyroid was a mess - for 35 years, overlapping FMS and ME/CFS by about 17 years, at this point in time the one thing I can say for sure is that I am depression free and pretty happy with life, all things considered. Ironic, I think, especially considering I am just now pulling out of a seasonal crash and burn that had its dark and discouraging elements.

    @jerrymcfadyen Hugs and thought blessings and sunny days to you!!
    Izola, oceiv, Wayne and 6 others like this.
  4. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

    Can you define depression? It means different things to different people. In popular culture it seems to mean "discouraged and unhappy", at least where I live. The definition of depression used in psychiatry is also very broad.

    DSM-IV Criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
    • Depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities for more than two weeks.
    • Mood represents a change from the person's baseline.
    • Impaired function: social, occupational, educational.
    • Specific symptoms, at least 5 of these 9, present nearly every day:
    1. Depressed mood or irritable most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful).
    2. Decreased interest or pleasure in most activities, most of each day.
    3. Significant weight change (5%) or change in appetite.
    4. Change in sleep: Insomnia or hypersomnia
    5. Change in activity: Psychomotor agitation or retardation.
    6. Fatigue or loss of energy.
    7. Guilt/worthlessness: Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
    8. Concentration: diminished ability to think or concentrate, or more indecisiveness
    9. Suicidality: Thoughts of death or suicide, or has suicide plans.
    Unfortunately "depressed" mood is not defined here.

    I think I might qualify for major depressive disorder under the DSM-IV. There is some overlap in symptoms but I'm not an emotional wreck so maybe that disqualifies me. In fact I'm often happy and cheerful despite the ongoing other symptoms (thanks to a mostly supportive family) and that probably doesn't fit in a diagnosis of depression.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
    oceiv and JaimeS like this.
  5. Jon_Tradicionali

    Jon_Tradicionali Alone & Wandering

    Zogor-Ndreaj, Shkodër, Albania
    Depressed is too light a word.
    Izola likes this.
  6. Aurator

    Aurator Senior Member

    One thing I'm not sure all doctors are careful to distinguish in the case of ME patients is whether the patient is genuinely clinically depressed or merely what, for want of a better term, might be called rationally depressed. By this I mean someone who is depressed in the non-medical sense of the word - whose mood is low, who experiences persistent and recurring dysphoria, chiefly as a response to having to cope with the relentless burden of a chronic untreatable illness. Few people under similar circumstances would not experience low mood, I think.

    Clinical depression is a terrible illness in its own right, but I think too many doctors are ready to diagnose it in PWME, either for the reasons I've referred to or because doing so then allows them to ascribe many if not all of the physical symptoms reported by the patient to the patient's depressed state of mind rather than to the chronic physiological disorder that is really at the root of things.
  7. daisybell

    daisybell Senior Member

    New Zealand
    My GP took some convincing initially to believe me when I said I wasnt depressed, as my scores on the simple depression rating scale indicated otherwise. I pointed out that there was so much overlap between the points on the scale and the symptoms of ME, that it was not possible to have any confidence in the accuracy of my score. Of course I was distressed, and sometimes still am, as well as being very sad as times, but I know that I am not depressed currently, nor have I been at any time in the course of my illness to date.
    Izola, Keela Too, MeSci and 5 others like this.
  8. Martial

    Martial Senior Member

    Ventura, CA
    Being sick can be very depressing, I don't know why all these studies hyper analyze all that so much. lol
    Marky90, Izola, Antonia and 8 others like this.
  9. Research 1st

    Research 1st Severe ME, POTS & MCAS.

    It always amazes me how un-depressed people with ME CFS are. The people I've met, housebound people or bedridden never sound low and beaten down, quite far from it.

    Perhaps a key feature of this phenomena, is the need of survival when experience distressing symptoms that have no treatment, e.g. torturous symptoms. I would also imagine that being blamed for your own suffering for years or decades (as seen in UK and Europe), is a core motivator to disprove this accusation of mental illness, and to disprove this, one must not become depressed.

    Yes many other factors come into it, genetics, hormonal levels etc, but still, it appears that ME CFS sufferers despite their heavy toll, face life with a propensity to struggle on regardless. Another side to the coin biologically, could be that parts of the brain resulting in depression aren't affected in ME CFS, hence the surprisingly low levels of depression despite the often awful daily lives PWME/CFS live.
    Marky90, Hutan, TigerLilea and 3 others like this.
  10. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

    Depression yes or no is a bit tough and may I say that there is no right or wrong answer here, because living with this disease along with the challenges it engenders is tough on the strongest of human beings.

    I see depression as a spectrum, not as a yes of no question, especially when it relates to chronic diseases. There is ongoing grieving happening. There are seasons of better fortunes and others of drought, pain, anguish and sadness. Add to the mix relationships, or lack of and how the significants others are beinghelpful or not. Add financial issues. Access to care. Progression of the illness. Dealings with insurance companies. Managing every dimension of your new life. The politics of the illness and the stigma in society. It's complicated and it is very often difficult, and can be 'depressing' (for lack of better word).

    I have had my battles with depression before getting sick with EBV. I have lived through my dark days as I processed all of the stage of grieving my old life and I will likely cycle through that again, because we all do. But I can say that I am not depressed today, I haven't been for months.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
    Marky90, Hutan, Izola and 6 others like this.
  11. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

    Sadness is often mistaken for depression. Two different things.

    The other day, I finally happened across the thread about dumb things people say to us. I have wanted to add this one for a while.

    In Alaska, explaining to an acquaintance why she had not seen me in a while:

    "I've been ill the past few weeks."

    "This is Alaska, so it must be depression." Nods knowingly. Another lady walks up, she shares it... "She's been depressed..." :bang-head: Crazy-making assumptions and there is no fixing it.

    Sheesh. I wasn't even sad or upset or anything.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
    jimells, L'engle, MeSci and 2 others like this.
  12. luludji


    I think my sensibility for depression is a symptom of ME.

    It can be influenced for the better by rest and a save environment.
    But now circumstances are bad... dealing with ignorant docters, losing my home (where should I live?), worried about my child....

    So very depressed at the moment, and indeed, "depression is too light a word".
    Izola, dean, Misfit Toy and 2 others like this.
  13. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member

    I recall reading somewhere how one doctor distinguished ME/cfs from major depression:

    With major depression, patients are generally unable to tell you what they would do if only they were not depressed.

    With ME/cfs, patients have no trouble describing the many things they would do if only they didn't have ME/cfs.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
    oceiv, TigerLilea, CantThink and 9 others like this.
  14. Min

    Min Guest

    I was misdiagnosed with depression 30 years ago by a GP who said there was no such thing as M.E.

    Despite my never having suffered from it, the misdiagnosis is still on my records and is always the first thing that shows up,on their computers.
    Izola, oceiv, Kati and 1 other person like this.
  15. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

    I feel many doctors mistake fatigue (and lack of energy) for depression. Especially when they think CFS or Fibro are psychiatric. Fatigue can cause symptoms found in depression - talking slower, not smiling as much, not talking as much, isolating socially, needing naps, etc.

    Personally I am depressed but I work at keeping it minimized. I found it's hard to separate my own fatigue from depression sometimes. A friend (with ME) said it took years to figure out, and I agree.

    I feel fatigue and depression are two distinctly different things, but when someone has both, there's more confusion and complexity.
    Izola, redrachel76, dean and 5 others like this.
  16. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

    I also think it is important for people to distinguish that depression is not the cause of ME and not the same diagnostic criteria as ME in any way, shape or form. But it can certainly be a by-product of ME or of having a chronic illness with no end in sight that has changed the course of your life. When you want so badly to be well and it feels unattainable, it can be very depressing.
    Izola, oceiv, dean and 2 others like this.
  17. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

    My understanding of depression is changes in brain function state and not a 'feeling'. People who suffer from pain feel depression due to chemicals firing off etc. I don't have pain but I have known several people with Fibro who suffer from depression.

    A couple of years ago I had severe hip/outer leg pain, it just came out of the blue. It lasted 5 days and I experienced terrible PAIN, I had empathy for those who suffer with pain daily.
    Izola, barbc56, GracieJ and 1 other person like this.
  18. Bananas


    My husband finds having CFS depressing. But he is not clinically depressed. Some days, it all gets too much for him and he becomes overwhelmed about the fact that he has been ill for 15 years, and he gets very upset. After a good outburst, he usually feels a whole lot better. We live within the parameters of his illness, and within those parameters, we have a nice life, plenty to laugh at, etc. Nothing about his 'down days' is indicative of clinical depression, but obviously the symptoms of M.E./CFS are the same as depression, but are caused by a different malefactors. I think M.E. might cause a depression prone person to get depression on top of the M.E. but for a non-depression prone person, it is just depressing. I actually think my husband has a high level of resistance to clinical depression.
    Izola, dean, Woolie and 6 others like this.
  19. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?

    Cornwall, UK
    I've had serious depression in the past - indeed at the beginning of ME, due to life falling apart around me, poverty, loss of mobility (can't afford to run a car any more), loss of any apparent ability to hold down a job ever again, and malnutrition. It was situational and probably also partly due to the malnutrition, which in turn was due to poverty and an illness which made me unable to retain what I did manage to eat. So I know very well what it feels like.

    But when I saw that Valentijn was starting a poll, and then found it, a bright smile lit up my face. That happens a lot. I also laugh a lot. I am very well motivated.

    Ergo...definitely not depressed. Often pi**ed off and frustrated, but not depressed. At times sad over things I haven't been able to do? Yes - just as anyone would be.
    Izola, zzz, Woolie and 1 other person like this.
  20. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?

    Cornwall, UK
    Likewise my records show a 'panic attack' which was diagnosed over the phone and which now turns out to have been severe hyponatraemia, probably an adverse effect of a drug I had been prescribed shortly before. o_O

    They will not remove it. :bang-head:
    Izola, Min and Valentijn like this.

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