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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi, I have been dealing with depression for a while now ..

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Hi, I have been dealing with depression for a while now .. actually going through a good patch at the moment, but being the perfectionist that I am I need to know what form of depression I am suffering from, so I can better manage it in future.

For a little background: I currently go to a psychologist and will follow everything up with her... I just returned to her after a year without therapy. My mother has been diagnosed with personality disorders (I think Paranoid/Schizoid).

From the research I have been doing I seem to fit somewhere between Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Cyclothymia, but not sure. Here are a list of the things that stand out from the questions I've been asked as well as what I think may be pertinent:

- No lack of ambition (currently completing my second degree and doing medical research at university)
- Creatively, emotionally and socially very intelligent I think, but definitely not a mathematical genius.
- Lack of energy quite often, even for the things I enjoy and want to do
- Often negative thinking or more focusing on the negatives and mistakes (perfectionism)
- Sometimes loss of interest in the things I enjoy
- Depression can last a few days to a week
- Don't seem to have the hypomanic phase of the Cycothymia, but do have time of more confidence (to get a new job or apply for an ambitious career change, always follow through, but the minute I achieve it and can relax.. I feel a little depro and want to move up and forward faster - Never comfortable where I am)
- Get distracted at times easily (especially during study periods). Find it easier to cram the night before (get 80%), than to try and drag studying across a couple of days end up with 60-70% and can't remember much after the exam is over.
- I get irritated easily with people close to me and the shop attendant who does me in, but have a lot of patience with people I've just met
- I often have periods where thoughts and ideas race through my head.
- I generally don't make stupid, rash decisions
- I generally sleep well, but wake up grumpy in the morning unless it's light outside, no matter what the time is.
- Enjoy sleeping a lot
- I deal well with groups of less than 8 people
- I hate crowds
- I enjoy spending time with people, but also enjoy my own time sometimes and will rather stay home
- Winter is usually gloomy, but not always
- Mood is definitely affected by the weather, but not necessarily the rain (actually love the rain, its something in the air when it rains sometimes that sets me off ... not sure)
- I sometimes avoid people and will go on escapades for a while on my own
- I am a comfort eater, although I'm thin at the moment... dieted it all away
- I can also go on crazy spending sprees, when I don't have money ... comfort shopping.

Hope that isn't too much information. Can you please help me :-)
You can email me directly [email protected] not sure if its allowed don't know how this all works.

Thank-you in advanced

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Haven't received an answer yet

Thank you. Sometimes, finding the right Expert can take a little longer than expected and we thank you greatly for your understanding. We’ll be in touch again shortly:-)

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


Although a therapist cannot diagnose you without seeing you face to face for an evaluation (it is considered unethical), I can give you an idea of what you might have and you can have it ruled out by your psychologist. A full psychological evaluation, including symptoms, current social and physical issues as well as a family history are needed to do an accurate evaluation and diagnosis.


Many of the symptoms you describe sound like depression, but they do not seem prominent enough to be considered cyclothymia. It sounds somewhat like dysthymia or even Depressive Disorder NOS. It may be SAD, but if you feel ok during the winter months and your depression is there during the summer months, SAD will not fit for a diagnosis.


The symptoms you have that do fit a depression diagnosis-


Lack of energy

Negative thinking (can also just be a personality trait)

Occasional loss of interest


Irritation (can also be a personality issue)

Racing thoughts

Spending sprees- if you consistently spend beyond your ability to pay


The other symptoms can just be personality. For example, your desire to be away from others and your dislike of crowds can indicate you are introverted in personality. That is not a mental health issue, just a preference. Or it can be a social anxiety disorder, depending on how the symptom interferes with your ability to live your life.


If you have a family history of depression, particularly Bipolar, that is also a factor in your diagnosis. A family history of depression can predispose you to an increased chance of developing depression yourself. Also, Bipolar is a brain disorder, which increases the chances it can be passed on through genetics. Although your symptoms do not fit Bipolar, it does not hurt to have it ruled out if you have a family history.


You may want to ask your psychologist for a new evaluation, especially if these symptoms began within the past year, when you have not been in treatment. Also, your previous diagnosis can help you determine if you may have a depressive disorder. Someone with a previous depressive disorder is more likely to develop the disorder again. A full physical exam by your doctor is also indicated, just to rule out any possible physical cause for your symptoms.


I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank-you for your reply.
I'm meeting with my therapist this week and am going to bring everything up with her. Therapy definately has been helping, we stopped for a year because I was ready to and had dealt with a lot of the issues in my life. She has never really told me though if I have a mental disorder, but i've also never asked. I guess I just struggle understanding everything because of my mothers disorder, but is it possible to get depressed regularly and not have a mental disorder, or is depression always a sign that there is something more?

Thank-you for your help again

You're welcome!


You should have had a diagnosis before you started treatment last year. Most likely, your therapist already evaluated you during your first session so you just need to ask. It is your right to know what your diagnosis is.


It is normal to have periods of time in your life where you feel depressed. As long as you are able to function in your day to day life, there is usually no need for concern. Your mother's personality disorder can affect you only in that it is stressful to deal with someone with a personality disorder. You have to find ways to cope, which can cause you to feel depressed. But that is usually an environmental/ stress related cause which is easily treated through therapy. Personality disorders are not passed on through genetics.


I would recommend another evaluation for you just to rule out a depression diagnosis. If you do have one, it sounds like it is easily treatable.



TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank-you again, your answer has been very helpful.
Have a great day,

You're welcome! Anytime, David. It was nice talking with you.



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