Diagnosing yourself-Johnathon
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Diagnosing yourself

Q: I suffer from depression-Have all my life, and on occasion I get very Irritable-Because I have been Pushed and sometimes for no reason, I can get angry and lash out- I used to Get worse but I have learned to control it. I can become so deeply depressed I lay in bed for weeks, But to My Knowledge I have never had a manic episode-sure I get happy when I hear The right song or when I meet someone special--sometimes when I come out of the depression, I feel like getting out and exploring all That I can! Mania? The 2 Problems that I have are these-#1 I have been told that someone with This disorder cannot Improve without meds and counseling-something that I have done-In 3 Years and counting- Like I said, I have learned how to control a lot of the behaviors! #2 I am in an unusual situation, My Family-Native american/Witches will not allow me to seek treatment to be diagnosed or to seek help, and being under age theres nothing I can do, though I am not sure that I would as I wish also to respect The Great spirit! so How can I know if I just suffer from depression? Is it possible to suffer from depression (recurrent) as a single disorder? Thanks for the help Goddess Bless Jonathan

Dear Jonathan --
You and Diana wrote on the same day.  Some of my thoughts for her apply to you, and I would suggest the same links.  Your experience is different, clearly, in some ways.  YES, a person can have "recurrent" -- repeated episodes of -- depression with no manic phases.  Now, some of the more extreme mood experts have said that "recurrent depression is bipolar until proven otherwise".  They mean that maybe the "manic" episode just hasn't happened yet; or maybe there are subtle "manic-side" features that the person hasn't recognized.  My site talks a lot about that: things like really bad insomnia, really bad irritability such as you mention.  But it can be very, very difficult to decide whether these  represent "hypomanic" "symptoms".  That's just the question you're asking yourself -- and me.  Sorry I can't answer that more directly.

There are a lot of people out there who have "symptoms" like yours and choose not to get therapy or take a medication.  Surely many of them have been helped by healers other than therapists or psychiatrists: medicine men, pastors, gurus and so on.  Unless a person has "symptoms" severe enough to really get in the way of functioning on a daily basis, most psychiatrists would probably not prescribe medications, particularly to a younger person.

I hope that there is room in your life and spiritual system for learning more, even if it comes from a Western Medicine type.  Check out the links and see what you think.

Dr. Phelps

Published October, 2000

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