The symptoms of dysthymia are the same as those of major depression but not as intense and include the following:Practically the only symptom here that I *don't* have, or haven't had at least at some point, is the weight change. Well, I'm not sure that my restlessness or feeling rundown is noticeable by others, but then, I don't really interact with others that much, outside of the internet (where obviously it wouldn't be noticed), work, and my roommate. In addition, the symptoms go on for at least two years, with no two consecutive months being relief of symptoms. I think I've felt this way at least since somewhere in my teen years. My family history certainly has a history of some form of undiagnosed mental illness, as practically every relative I know of was at one time addicted to *something* - drugs, alcohol, pain pills, sleeping pills, nicotine, you name it. After doing some more research, I think at my next session I'm going to discuss it with her more and see if that is possibly an "official" diagnosis and what my options for treating it are, if I need to be referred to a psychiatrist for medication, etc.
- sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
- loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
- major change in weight (gain or loss of more than 5% of weight within a month) or appetite
- insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
- physically restless or rundown that is noticeable by others
- fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or excessive guilt almost every day
- problems with concentration or making decisions almost every day
- recurring thoughts of death or suicide, suicide plan, or suicide attempt
Speaking of my therapist, she provided me some feedback regarding my letter to my father which I posted in my last entry. Now all that's left to do is to actually mail it. I don't know for sure 100% if the address I found is the most current, because I called 411 and they listed the address as being to some woman. I looked into a private investigator, but that would cost around $460, and it has to be paid all at once, not a payment plan. So, I suppose my best option is to just mail it and hope that if it's not him, that whoever lives there will be nice enough to either send it back or write me back letting me know. My anxiety level about the whole thing is going back up. Now that it's a real possibility, more than I've ever had in my life, the questions and uncertainties are going through my head again. What if it causes problems with whatever family he may have now? What if it somehow causes problems with my family? What if I'm making a mistake? I know this is all just another symptom of my general fear of change and uncertainty about life in general, but it's still there. I guess if I'm going to mail the letter, I'd better do it soon, before I talk myself out of it.
In other news, I went to a Civil War re-enactment on this past Saturday. It was very somber for me. I imagined being there, knowing many of my ancestors were Confederate soldiers. You don't typically think of a Civil War re-enactment having such an effect on someone - most people seem to view it as primarily entertainment, in my experience. It kind of made me wonder if I just think too deeply, and/or if I was having an emotional reaction due to some kind of past life experiences.
Which brings me to the topic of my next post, when I actually have time to post it: Some thoughts on Buddhism.