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”.
5 thoughts on “About Me”
Just wanted to say hi and that I really enjoy reading your blog! I have question, though: why did you decide to write in English? (I’m pleased that you did as otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to read it :). Although I’m multilingual, German is unfortunately not on the list of languages I’m fluent in.)
PS That should have read: I have A question, though: …
Thank you for your comment. 🙂
There are several reasons why I write in English: My boyfriend is US-American and doesn’t speak German (yet), and some of my friends aren’t German and don’t speak German either – but all of my German friends speak English. They all were the people who first encouraged me to give blogging a try and thus it just appeared the logical consequence.
My family, on the other hand, does NOT speak English, so that even if they end up here by some strange coincidence, they won’t actually be able to understand what I wrote. 😉
Also, expressing emotions in English comes somewhat easier to me than in my mother tongue.
Glad you enjoyed reading my ramblings!
I have nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award: http://themirthofdespair.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/liebster-and-versatile-blog-awards-round-2/
Thank you! That means a lot, especially since recently I’ve been too busy to really be a blogger at all, much less a “versatile blogger”.