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Possible form of depression - Advice needed!


I need some trustworthy advice concerning a mental issue I've been experiencing for a good while now, but one I keep trying to ignore and away from family or friends. This is the first time I've really come out and asked for help on what I should realistically do, as I'm currently considering going to see my doctor concerning this. First let me introduce myself, my name is Joseph and I'm a Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferer, now eleven years since diagnosed though had aches and pains in my legs since a small child. I'm 22 and have struggled to live with this condition for a while, now the reason I'm explaining this is because I know it as something to do with my troubling thoughts. The chronic pain and frustration have caused me absolute hell over the years.

For the past two to three years I've had dark spells mentally where I feel down, tired, anxious, panicky and so much more. These spells vary in length, they can last a few hours or a few weeks. It's difficult to explain but there's a constant ache in my chest, my mind is foggy and I generally struggle to concentrate on matters. But most importantly is that I continually imagine thoughts of suicide, it's difficult for me to explain in actual text but I experience thoughts of a rope for which to hang myself. Now, I know deep down inside I wouldn't do such a thing. So I find these images in my mind troubling. Late last year a bad spell of chronic pain became both mentally and physically to much for me to handle and I had a sort of breakdown emotionally. My rheumatologist directed me to a psychologist who as been of some help, though she admitted that she can only do so much and that if things got worse I would have to see my GP.

There are specific things that trigger these down spells, for example I cannot watch any form of news coverage because I find it causes me to feel like this or most television in general. I know I suffer badly from anxiety and low self-esteem, as much caused by having Rheumatoid Arthritis, chronic pain and medication. But these spells are truly starting to affect my life in the worse ways and that's why I feel it's time to finally see if there is advice I can seek. My family don't know I suffer with these and in a strange way I find the idea of telling them tough. It's clear to me now that I need some sort of help to simply help me to feel normal mentally if not physically. I'm not sure if this will appear in the form of medication or treatment, but it's needed.

Recently I decided to do some research specifically targeting the mental issues that were occurring and came across 'passive suicidal ideation' which seem to fit some of the symptoms eerily well. While deep down I know I wouldn't act upon these thoughts, they are constant and unhealthy. I feel I should mention as much as I can, so you can judge my case as best as possible, so I wish to add that on many occasions (often when my chronic pain and arthritis is at it's worse) I've gone to bed and prayed not to wake up in the morning. I'm not a religious man, but it's something I've done one to many times for it not to be mentioned here.

Realistically I know some of these issues can be pinpointed towards having RA, as side effects such as Malaise can cause a few problems. But it appears that depression is common with RA sufferers, but I've never felt comfortable calling this 'depression'. So I ask for your knowledgeable advice on this matter, and if I should do anything about it.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this,
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replied April 15th, 2011
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