Tenacity ? Conquering any Obstacle

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When faced with a challenge there is one basic principle one must adhere to ? keep trying. The greatest challenge I have overcome in my lifetime, is that of depression. It took me many years and many attempts to overcome this obstacle, but I kept trying. Try as many different avenues and ask for as much help as you can. And never give up; you only lose when you surrender. It may be easy to keep trying to get that dream job, or to practice to make the perfect jump shot. To keep fighting an illness that at its very base is designed to force you to give up, is another story. Attempts are many and conquering the illness, for me, took ten years. Depression is a psychiatric disorder. A psychiatric disorder ?is a physiological ?syndrome? (or pattern) that is associated with distress (unpleasant symptoms) or dysfunction (impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or with an increased risk of death, pain or disability.? (Block & Singh 1997, p.38) Psychiatric disorders come in many forms and diagnosis can often be difficult. I was diagnosed by my General Practitioner as suffering from a mood disorder and a neurotic disorder. Mood disorders are characterised by severe disturbances to mood ranging in symptoms from abnormal thinking and level of activity (Block & Singh 1997, p.42). In my case, this was diagnosed as depression. Neurotic disorders on the other hand, ?covers the states of anxiety ? including phobia, panic and obsessive compulsive disorder? (Block & Singh 1997, p.43). My neurotic disorder consisted of constant anxiety and panic attacks. Depression and anxiety disorder affected the way I lived everyday life. ?Loss of interest touches everything, ranging in degree from an unwillingness to join in everyday activities?through neglecting oneself and one?s family, to not caring whether one lives or dies.? (Block & Singh 1997, p.97) As with any illness, the first plan is to see a doctor. Following a doctor?s advice with treatments is the best way to try to overcome any illness. However, with depression, it is very much a case of trial and error to find which treatment, or combinations of treatments, will work for you. Treatments range from a variety of physiological treatments (like medication), and psychological treatments. Medications help ?control symptoms by readjusting those chemical processes in the brain that we assume are disturbed in psychiatric disorders.? (Block & Singh 1997, p.266) I was prescribed anti-depressants, however, these did not eradicate the depression completely, and it merely lessened it somewhat. So I had to try psychological treatments as well. There are a wide range of psychological therapies, including psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and cognitive behavioural therapies (classifications can be found in Woodham & Peters 1997, pp. 160-161). These are the three treatments, hand-in-hand with medication, that I encountered while trying to battle my illness. A psychotherapist works with clients to ?examine past experiences in order to confront deep-seated personal issues affecting their identity.? (Woodham & Peters 1997, p.162) A psychoanalyst works in a similar way to a psychotherapist. ?The essential premise of psychoanalysis is based on the work of Freud. The unacceptable feelings of early childhood are said to be banished to the unconscious mind, but to continue to influence thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. ?Repressed? feelings may surface later in life as conflictions, anguish, depression, or anxiety?? (Woodham & Peters 1997, p.162) I worked for a number of years, first with a psychotherapist, then with a psychoanalyst. I found talking to someone could ease my suffering somewhat, but after six years; the only thing that had changed was my medication dosage (which continually increased). At this stage I was unable to work, I rarely left my bed, let alone my house, and to keep going felt pointless. I went back to the drawing board, and on a recommendation from a family member, tried working with a cognitive therapist. Therapists ?using a cognitive approach carefully tease out negative thoughts, attitudes and beliefs.? (Block & Singh 1997, pp.108-109) A Cognitive therapist will help to identify the core beliefs that create negative thinking, and they will challenge the validity of those thoughts (ibid). I worked with this therapist, and often worked on ?homework? they gave me between visits, for a year. At the end of this time, I was working again, being sociable, and feeling

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