More threads by SadGirl

Hi SadGirl,

Dysthymia is a persistent mild depression, which can be treated with therapy and/or medications. Therapy and medication together have been found the most effective when utilized at the same time.

Here are some of the symptoms:

Presence, while depressed, of two (or more) of the following:

1. poor appetite or overeating
2. insomnia or hypersomnia
3. low energy or fatigue
4. low self-esteem
5. poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
6. feelings of hopelessness


The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.


In addition to Dr Dobson's review, here is an overview from the National Institute of Mental Health

What is Dysthymia?
Dysthymia (the Greek roots of the word mean “bad state of mind” or “ill humor”) is a disorder with similar but longer-lasting and milder symptoms than clinical depression. By the standard psychiatric definition, this disorder lasts for at least two years, but is less disabling than major depression; for example, victims are usually able to go on working and do not need to be hospitalized.

How Common Is It?
About three percent of the population will suffer from dysthymia at some time - a rate slightly lower than the rate of major depression. Like major depression, dysthymia occurs twice as often in women as it does in men. It is also more common among the poor and the unmarried. The symptoms usually appear in adolescence or young adulthood but in some cases do not emerge until middle age.

Warning Signs
The warning signs of dysthymia are:

poor school/work performance
social withdrawal
irritable hostility
conflicts with family and friends
physiological abnormalities
sleep irregularities
parents with major depression
At least three-quarters of people with dysthymia have some other psychiatric or medical disorder as well.

Current Treatments for Dysthymia

Psychotherapy or cognitive therapy (also known as “talk therapy”) is used to alter people ’s self-defeating thoughts.
Behavioral therapy may help people learn how to act in a more “positive approach” to life and to communicate better with friends, family, and co-workers.
Tricyclic antidepressants, the standard treatment for major depression, may be useful for dysthymia

In many cases, the symptoms are hard to recognize and classify, and the response to treatment is unpredictable. Most people with dysthymia see only their family doctor, who may misdiagnose them, especially if the main complaints are physical. Many people do not think of themselves as depressed, and are relieved to be told they have a treatable illness. Unfortunately, mental health professionals are usually consulted only when major depression develops, although dysthymia alone may lead to alcoholism or suicide. Even when it is recognized, dysthymia is difficult to treat. The longer a depression lasts the slower the recovery.

For More Information:
Contact your local Mental Health Association, community mental health center, or:
National Mental Health Association
2001 N. Beauregard Street, 12th Floor
Alexandria, VA 22311
Phone 703/684-7722
Fax 703/684-5968
Mental Health Resource Center 800/969-NMHA
TTY Line 800/433-5959

National Foundation for Depressive Illness (NFDI)
PO Box 2257
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (800) 248-4344

Depression Awareness, Recognition, and Treatment (DART)
National Institute of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 10-85
Rockville, MD 20857-8030
Phone: (800) 421-4211

American Psychiatric Association
1400 K Street, NW
Suite 501
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 682-6000

Canadian Mental Health Association

Source: The Harvard Mental Health Letter,


What is wrong with me and what can I do to change?

I have been depressed for 7 years now. I have really low self esteem. A lot of this has manifested into a bit of promiscuity. I make-out with 15 random guys over a two month period at one point. (Am I a slut?) Anyway, I hate myself even more now and so do most ppl it seems. I put ppl off. I am very sensitive and whenever anyone seems to not like me the slightest I obsess over it. My self-concept of myself is pretty bad, what can I do to change? I want to change....


would you say that making out w/ those guys makes you feel better about yourself? or at least that tou think that it will (even if it doesn't in the lt)? you obviously put a lot of value on what others think about you and sometimes that gets us into trouble by trying to do things that will make us be "liked" or "popular" or just be loved... we put so much value into what others think that even if we can get them to like us you're constantly trying to keep up w/ that, coming up w/ new ways to assure you will be liked... it's kinda like a trap. if you want to change (things in general) and you said you've been depressed for 7 yrs, have you ever gone to therapy? have you considered seeing a therapist???? that might be a good start, especially if you're motivated to change.



Dear Sadgirl, I've been there too. I have been depressed probably all of my life, but I was diagnosed about ten years ago. It probably took me about four or five years to stop breaking those behaviors that caused me to hate myself and I still have behaviors that I have just realized I need to change. I didn't make out with lots of guys, but I did keep getting into relationships with men that deep down inside I knew were not good for me. I don't know how you feel, but I think that I was doing it to find some sense of security and I feel that maybe I thought I didn't deserve to be treated with respect. I know that sometimes I still feel this way. Did something happen to you when you were a child? Please don't hate yourself. If you really try to figure out why you are doing this I am sure that you will overcome this behavior. Have faith in yourself. You will overcome this because you are seeking help.


Hang in there. With everything in this world going on around us, I think it's easy to become unbalanced. What I mean is the balance between our bodies and our minds and understanding who we are. It's possible to find that balance, but it never hurts to get some help with that. There are 2 things I know - 1: It's possible to get better/improve your situation. 2: It takes time and many people need help with it. Taking time to go through the process of getting better is OK. It's just experiencing life.
I'll say it again. Hang in there. Hopefully knowing that you're not alone and that people care about your well being (ie people on this forum) will help your beautiful head to stop throbbing.


I think sometimes things become so painful, so unbearable that dissociating ourselves from our body and life is the only way to cope and deal w/ things. Not necessarly the most useful in the lt, but it gets you through- I know. You get to the point where your life seems so "out of place", where things don't make sense in the greater context of your environment. I think some of that is definitely depression, feeling hopeless and worthless and like things just seem so out of context. As Dianna has said as well, you're not alone, it may seem like that but you're not... there are people out there who understand and also those that can help you if you can find them and accept their help.. This isn't what life should be about, and it's not... maybe it was in the past, maybe it is today, maybe it will be tomorrow... but at some point, things will get better and all of this will make sense and probably have made you a stronger persomn b/c of it. I don't really know what else to say..... except that it's a long journey, a difficult one... but you will get through all of this w/ time so that things will start making some sense again (never ever really makes a 100% sense though, does it?).


Sadgirl, I struggle with a similar problem. I didn't go out much because of my horrible self image so when I did make it outdoors and got so much as a compliment I was just floored. I was shocked and amazed but I suddenly felt special, desirable and liked. I ended up sleeping with just about anybody, and even though I always felt tons worse afterward, I continued doing this. The only thing that slowed me down was the weight I gained. I fear that when I lose the weight I'll be bed-hopping again. Hopefully by the time I lose the weight I will be able to see myself in a new light and learn to respect my body and myself. By then I also hope to really like myself and not need validation from others. I wish the same for you :)


Im afraid to be happy...

Whenever I feel a twinge of happiness...I stop myself and get scared to go there...i dont know why...maybe i am afraid of the crash that follows...i dont know....


Boy, can I relate!...

...Does it feel as though you don't have a right to be happy? Does happy feel false? How about, does it feel like a possible trap? I know exactly the feeling of happy just being a brief precurser to a deadly decent into dispair and hopelessness. Have you ever dreaded having moments of happiness come over you? They feel so foreign that you just want to send it back to the chef uneaten.

How about, have you ever felt a guilt that because you were having a stormy crying jig a little bit ago, you shouldn't allow yourself to feel happy so soon afterwards. Man, I would actually get angry at myself for feeling happy then.

Something to consider- Emotions are electrical and chemical interactions within the brain. They have nothing to do with the world around you. In fact, when we are babies, we have to be taught what each little synaps and flexing of facial muscles mean. A pleasant feeling fills the baby each time the caretaker gently holds the baby, and it will lie there and stare blankly at the smile on it's parent's face. It relates that expression with the feeling of contentment and warmth. It accidently makes a simular expression, and the parent delightedly cuddles the baby in response. This happens a few times, and suddenly the baby is able to make the expression on command.

I am saying all of this because, I believe that when a person gets so deeply into a depression, they eventually have to teach themselves all over again how to express happiness. I know. Sounds weird, but I strongly believe this. I have seen it over and over again in myself and in others who were suffering from depression. I had to convince myself that, first of all, I have a right to be happy, then I had to re-learn all over again what it feels like to be happy. For different people this may take different routes. I used drawing and writing to re-learn. It took a little while, but I was then able to claim the happiness without fear or guilt.

I really hope you are able to claim happiness for yourself soon. It might feel awkward or weird at first, but I think that if you allow yourself to just experience it without judging it you will then find it easier to step into those places that allow you feel happy. Sending you good thoughts.


I am saying all of this because, I believe that when a person gets so deeply into a depression, they eventually have to teach themselves all over again how to express happiness... I have seen it over and over again in myself and in others who were suffering from depression. I had to convince myself that, first of all, I have a right to be happy, then I had to re-learn all over again what it feels like to be happy. For different people this may take different routes. I used drawing and writing to re-learn. It took a little while, but I was then able to claim the happiness without fear or guilt.
I think this says a lot of it. that when you feel so deep into a depression the entire concept of being happy, being allowed and able to be happy just seems so weird. but you have to keep in mind that this is what depression is and if you could see past that for even a little bit you'd see that you do deserve to be happy and that you can be happy. I mean "seeing past this" not to say that it's this easy but in terms of if this were a possibility then you could see the potential you have and how all these feelings are depression.. think of it as a big black cloud, if you could push it out of your way for a centimetre you'd be able to see the sky beyond what you're used to... right? I think w/ therapy and a lot of work and determination this will happen one day...

I think we get so scared of not only allowing ourselves to be happy (which we shouldn't feel guilty about in the 1st place) but as you said, of what will happen afterwards... but in reality, people don't cruise through their lives stuffed full only w/ moments of happiness... there's always the bad too but depression is kind of like all the bad things multiplied by 10, right? if you don't let yourself be happy, even for a little while, then you don't ever really have a chance of seeing what's out there, of reaching happiness... b/c you're afraid it will disappear again. I think there'll be moments of exactly that, happiness 'disappearing' again but sometimes when things seem really bad, being able to remember even one hour w/ one person of happiness can keep you going....


Re: Im afraid to be happy...

SadGirl said:
Whenever I feel a twinge of happiness...I stop myself and get scared to go there...i dont know why...maybe i am afraid of the crash that follows...i dont know....

Hi SadGirl,

I struggled with that too I guess. For me it had two reasons:

The first was that being depressed was so familiar that it felt safe: I knew what I could expect of the days. And the lack of changes was also welcome.

Second was that I knew that if I would allow myself to feel better, I knew that it would make me somehow sad too because then I realized the difference. It was a way of pushing away reality for me.


Am I depressed or just bored/lazy?

i feel no interest to go out and pursue things, have friends, almost nothing interests me, i have no ambition, am i depressed or just lazy/bored with life??



No, you are not lazy. You are probably depressed. I say this because you have written about your depression in weeks past.


Does your head feel like mush?

My head feels like mush and I cant concentrate on anything really. Even simple tasks are overwhelming, is this how you feel?


Do i have to take meds cause i really dont want to and i cant afford to

ive decided that i want to stay in my room all day and not come out and ive decided that i am going to tell my mom to stop telling me her worries, is this ok?

I just feel overwhelmed and i want to and need to just relax and not worry about anything or do anything right now i feel. I have been "trying" for so long and i just wanna let go.

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