Some basic information:
I’m a 35-years-old German woman who has been suffering from chronic major depression since the age of 12. From December 2010 to December 2012 I underwent psychotherapy with the CBASP programme; I also tried several antidepressants before finding something that works: since autumn 2014 I’m on escitalopram, with valdoxan added as a booster in autumn 2015. (For more details, please check out my Pre-Treatment Diary.)
My official diagnosis is recurrent major depression (with incomplete interepisode recovery and antecedent dysthymia), a so-called double depression; additionally, there were elements of social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and light agoraphobia before the psychotherapy.
In June 2011, a psychological examination found that of the depression only a few residual symptoms were left, the panic disorder and agoraphobia were gone, and the social anxiety disorder had become less intense.
(Please click image for bigger version.)
Instead of adding a minute description of the ups and downs I experienced over the last two decades, I decided to publish a graph displaying my depression history. It’s based on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), a diagnostic tool for assessing the severity of depressive symptoms in patients. All figures prior to November 2010 – the red arrow points out the first meeting with my therapist that month – are estimations based on memory and diary entries.
The faint red line I added as a visual aid: scores of 1 – 9 points indicate minimal depression that require no professional treatment. 10 – 18 signal mild depression, 19 – 29 are moderate depression and any score of 30 – 63 marks severe depression.
As you can see, the severity of my depression vacillated, but even during the best phases I remained clinically depressed, and the good times became shorter and shorter.
The sudden crash in 1996 also saw me harbouring suicidal thoughts, but I never actually made an attempt at killing myself.
What else is important?
Layara is not my real name, but an internet pseudonym I use for writing this blog because I want to protect my own privacy and that of all people mentioned here.
In December 2003, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyreoiditis after having been hypothyroid for quite a while – how long exactly is impossible to tell.
At 32, I am still a university student because social anxiety and depression kept me from studying for years – I was so afraid of my professors and fellow students that I couldn’t bring myself to attend classes or lectures, and skipped quite a few exams. My original subject was prehistoric archaeology, but after deciding to return to university, I switched to geosciences instead.
In March 2013, I left university without a degree because of both financial and mental health problems. Right now, I do not have any plans to continue higher education, instead focusing on recovery.
I used to work at a scientific library (six years in total) until February 2011, but have been unemployed since.
My husband is US-American and now lives in Germany with me. Prior to our marriage, we were in a long-distance relationship.
I am bisexual; until a few years ago, I actually identified as lesbian.
Some random facts about me can be found in the post “Versatile Blogger Award”.