is this depression?

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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/25/2011 6:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey all--

I'm new here, and I hope no one minds, I don't have much to offer but much to ask. First, let me be honest that I will be seeing a doctor tomorrow, and will be discussing all of this with that person. But I'd like a diversity of opinions, from people who may have been through this.

The background:
I live in New England, USA
I am female, 26
I'm a graduate student, under stress
Depression/bipolar/anxiety run in my family
I am on hormonal birth control (NuvaRing)
I was sick with a virus for most of September and October

Ok, I'll try to be brief. This past 1.5 years I have been under a huge amount of situational stress related to work. Last winter and spring I suffered from situationally induced depression related to work, and also correlated with work I had a major break down/burn out in May. Crying, feeling very depressed, panicked, etc. After that I took a long vacation. I began running, meditating, sleeping well. I haven't felt 100%, but maybe 80%, though a bit fragile. But I keep having these short, very intense depressive events/breakdowns. Since the first one in May I've had three such breakdown episodes, one was 5 days after I started birth control, and one more recently when I lost my birth control (it is a vaginal ring and it broke and fell out) and then started it again. The other was not correlated with birth control.

Specific Symptoms:
Durring a depressive phase, acute feeling of depression can last a week. They occur or grow much worse in the evening, and are associated with trouble sleeping and anxiety. It usually starts with some low level agitation, caped off with one very bad day or night, which brings down the next few days that follow. After one of these cycles I'll "pop out" of it. I'll have three to four good weeks, but with a sort of nagging sense of fragility. Then if I notice I am starting to get down, I'll begin to worry or fret over if it is another down spell, and that'll start the whole process off again. The last bout was several days ago, several hours after I replaced my birth control I began to feel irritable, it spiraled and went down to one of the darkest, and most frightening nights I've ever experienced. Particularly because I was so low I wasn't even frightened, just ready to be done.

My question: Last winter and spring, I would have called myself depressed. And it was only because I was so stressed and busy and depressed that I didn't seek treatment (lack of motivation and not enough time). Now, I have these very intense bouts of sadness and anxiety that interrupt otherwise good recovery. Is this depression? Could it be correlated with birth control?

I guess I always imagined depression as being something that lasted, without break, for several weeks or months. This lasts a short time (a day to a week), but is terribly debilitatingly intense. Otherwise I feel OK, but I just don't seem to have enough time in between these episodes to get to 100%. Like I'm solid, but made of something a little less strong that I was before. A little more fragile than before.

Anyway, if anyone has experience with this, and thought, I'd be hugely grateful.

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42612
   Posted 11/25/2011 6:56 PM (GMT -6)   
These facts and time frames are going to be helpful to your doctor. It almost sounds hormonal, with the ring. Does it correlate at all with your menstrual cycles? It could be pms. Either way, talk to your doctor. Keep journaling when things happen and how you feel and how it is in relation to your cycle. You are lucky it is intermittant. A lot of us have chronic depression that never ends.

Hoping that you feel better soon.

And oh yes, welcome to the forum!!!

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/25/2011 7:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Karen <=) I really appreciate the input. It's funny, I journal quite regularly but the journal I kept this past summer had so much negative stuff in it I put it away and have refused to look at it. But you're right, it's about time I pull it out and get some more info from it. Maybe there is some correlation going on.

You are also right that I have been lucky to get a break between these depressions. Many members of my family and friends suffer from depression or bipolar. Before this I was sympathetic, but going through this has made me so much more compassionate. It's taught me so much about the importance of kindness and in the value of good in others.

Just as you have reached out to show me kindness here. I do not take it lightly anymore. Thank you, and hugs to you as well!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 11/25/2011 8:33 PM (GMT -6)   
If there is a correlate, you might want to talk about this with your OB/GYN.
So make an appointment on Monday, you might need some bloodwork done.
But it's worth looking into, and sometimes it can be a seasonal type depression
Many well wishes to you and I hope your feeling better soon, keep us posted
as to how your appointment goes, will be thinking of you....we do care.
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/26/2011 6:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Also could be the start of bi polar. Maybe normal is acually mania? I like feeling manic, and a normal day without is depressed. A real depressed day, holy cow. With a complex family history, I'd ask for a complete work up to rule out anything physical and make sure mini episodes or rapid transiting between depression and mania aren't happening.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/26/2011 8:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Chartreux-- The Drs appointment went well. No decisions yet, but I did get some medicine to help me sleep, which will help with part of the picture. I'll be having a full blood chemistry done. And because my DR is actually an OP/GYN with a private practice, we talked about options for ruling out hormones as a possible cause, and though I'm still thinking them over, I think we'll move forward on that front.

Hbpersians-- thank you for the thoughts. My DR and I talked about this as a possible option as well, though we both agreed that it was too early to tell. Fortunately, I journal regularly, so the current plan is to dive into those old journals and see if I can pull out some more information. Thank you for re-enforcing this. I intend to do some research on the topic.

Thank you all for your thoughts and feedback. Talking with kind and supportive people is helping me to come to terms with some of these darker moments, and take action.

Jay P
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 11/28/2011 1:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Of course your Dr. will give you the best advice, the trouble sleeping and anxiety are definitely symptoms of depression, but the nuvaring element makes it a little tricky...I hope you find your answer..


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