Recurrent Major Depression: I Don't Always Want to Die

June 1, 2011 Amy Kiel

Living with major depressive disorder can be very challenging even when it's not at its most severe stages, it's important for others to understand why.

One of the most horrific aspects of major depressive disorder (MDD) is the severe stages of it, when the pain is most unbearable and so intense that a person feels like it would be better if life were over. It is truly one of the most terrifying of experiences to live in that space between fighting to live and fighting to die. But there are also challenging times living with major depressive disorder that are not quite so dramatic, yet still difficult and require an extra sort of energy to manage.

Recurrent Major Depression Requires Constant Vigilance

Living with recurrent major depressive disorder is not all about wanting to die, it is also about managing a "lower level" of depression and watching out for the prodromal stage and symptoms that occur just before a major depressive episode might occur (5 Signs You’re Heading Into a Depression & 5 Ways to Fight Back). This less intense but still present part of living with major depressive disorder means that life is not of the caliber and quality that I wish it would be a lot of the time. It means that I still have to push myself harder than what I believe the majority of people who do not live with recurrent MDD have to do; it takes a different kind of effort.

Diligent Effort and Self-Care

Am I feeling sorry for myself? I don't think so. I believe it is absolutely true that I have to take extra care and effort to do things like getting out of my pajamas, eating healthy, taking my medications, and employing healthy practices in my life. If I don't do these things, then in addition to the normal, "I feel really icky" response, I could be headed towards a debilitating and very dark time, that with each episode may take longer to recover from. Everyone needs to pay attention to their self-care, but if I don't, it can spell major disaster for both me and my family. Even with putting these things into practice, it is still possible for a severe episode of depression to sneak in, but at least, if I can do these things, I can help to protect myself against it.

Little things, like getting out my pajamas, are truly extra difficult for me, as silly as it may sound to some and as silly as it sounds to me sometimes. It's definitely my truth. Some of this may be further amplified by the condition of fibromyalgia that I also live with, but the effort that it takes some days to get from pajamas to pretty can feel insurmountable. It's the extra level of difficulty that normal tasks hold within them that reminds me I am not living the same kind of experience as a lot of my family and friends. I don't consider myself lazy, but it may appear that way at times. When I feel good emotionally and physically, these normal basic kinds of things aren't as hard, it's a good way to gauge how I am really doing, but it isn't always so easy to see.

Major Depressive Disorder Blinds Us

Something about major depressive disorder blinds us. It makes it harder to see ourselves objectively and to catch on quickly to changes in our mood and behaviors. As a result of living with this for so many years, I am sometimes extra observant, perhaps at times overly so.

I pay attention to my mood fluctuations and I feel them intensely. I can easily become fearful if I feel a big dip and I can easily feel saddened by a lack of energy. On the other hand, when I am doing well, I am extra appreciative and do my best to be present and not to squander it away. In some ways it is a blessing, in others, it's a curse.

What I Want You to Know About MDD

It's important that others understand that living with major depressive disorder does not mean that I am always feeling suicidal, that I am always on the brink of unmanageable depression. It's important that people know that living with major depressive disorder is not always the drama and darkness that it can be at its worst.

But what I most wish people knew and understood is that living with MDD is hard work. It's an extra burden. Please don't think me lazy or sad, just know that I need a little extra umph! to get me going and extra care to keep me healthy.

APA Reference
Kiel, A. (2011, June 1). Recurrent Major Depression: I Don't Always Want to Die, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Amy Kiel

Rhonda Sundown
June, 10 2011 at 5:28 am

Amy, I can so relate to your story here. I also have difficulty getting myself going, even just to get out of bed. At times I wish I could just sleep forever and never have to worry about anything again.
You have given me some insight on what to look for when a possible a low time is about to happen. Thanks for sharing.

June, 10 2011 at 6:24 am

Oh how this post says things so well and how people that haven't been there just don't get it. Thanks for sharing this.

Jim Dickinson
June, 11 2011 at 10:21 am

I've been in an "episode" of MDD for more than 12 years. It took several years of therapy and meds and a couple of stays in the hospital to be free from the intense suicidal ideation that accompanied my MDD. The next level, simply having thoughts of suicide with MDD, was a relief - to be able to make it through the day with without intrusive, unsafe thoughts. I reached my current level gradually about 2 years ago, with suicidal thoughts still on board, but in the back of my mind, not controlling my every thought. I look forward to the day when I'm happy, enjoying the moment, with no intrusive suicidal thoughts. I think I frustrate therapists because of this treatment resistance. I appreciate being where I am, where I can say, "I don't always want to die." MDD has been a horribly large chunk of my life, but I can see the possibility of mental health, and feel the beginning of hope and relief. I so look forward to feeling "normal", instead of having feelings of sadness, worthlessness and all the other depressive symptoms. Articles such as this are encouraging to me, to know that it won't last forever (even though it feels as if it will), and to take note of those safe and happy thoughts and savor them. I'm grateful to God, doctors, therapists, a patient wife, my support team, and my psychiatric service dog, all of whom have kept me alive.

Dr Musli Ferati
June, 16 2011 at 7:55 pm

Recurrent Major depression (RMD) is the worst variant of depressive disorder, that profoundly devastate biopsychosocial integrity of sickness person. Amongst many horrible symptoms and clinical phenomenon the suicidal intention squeezing the global life capacity of depressive person. However, there is successful treatment of this kind of depression. In first place it is antidepressant medication with respective psycho-stabilizator drugs (like Lithium, Carbamazapin, Valproate etc). Besides this approach of treatment, it ought to undertaking many sort of psycho-social intervention, in order to manage an healthy life style of living and working. All these performances in daily activities should be associate with one supportive and acceptable social network. The last one is most difficult issue in recovery of depressive ill patient. The same goal request an substantial psycho-education of public opinion on nature of this dangerous disease. Surely, the depressive person should be vigilant about course and intensity of depressive and suicidal overloading as well. An functional collaboration between patient and its social milieu could soften the strenuous suffering as well as resolvable fatal ideas of self-denying as precursor of suicide.

June, 25 2012 at 7:30 pm

If you are American there is not much medical-professional help for you if you are mentally ill. More monies are required for depression help than for other medical helps. Lots of people want to become a hero to save a person from suicide. But those same people require big (un-proportional) bucks from you if you are not seen standing on the ledge. So its clear where the interest is. It is in your money bag if you have one. Is this how "love one another" works? I dont think so. Undepressed People are NOT depression smart. They only learn by pain. They must experience depression to believe and know it. Is that high tech? I dont think so! But it helps explain the major recurrent stigma about depression. Depressed people are Phd's of true courage. Many Others have not proven as much respect for life, but only love for money.

JoAnna Story
October, 29 2012 at 1:24 pm

MDD is what I have issues with that clue me in that I am on my way to a downward spiral. The last time I had an MDD it led to 2 months hospitalization and 12 ECT treatments. Now 9 months later and I am in what I call, "Slug mode". Not wanting to get out of my PJs even showering is a chore. The bed is my companion constantly reminding me that I am safe and that the day will slilently slip by if I simply stay in it.
Fighting a MMD at this moment and this post helped me feel not so alone.

April, 11 2013 at 9:02 am

Oh my goodness, At last words to help me understand what my daughter is going through. And encouragement for our family! We are very fortunate in that my daughter has been able to continue her college coursework but we are nearing the end of a semester and again the MDD has hit and we are up against a brick wall. We are starting in-patient treatment in a month. I have just spent three days with her and we have a plan worked out for the next three weeks until she goes in-patient. I realize now that we are on the right track and with the Lord's help, we will make it through.

June, 16 2013 at 6:30 pm

I really appreciate this. As I've been struggling with my latest episode of MDD, it's felt like I'm somehow wrong and that everything I do is wrong. I can't express to you how wonderful it is to know that what I'm experiencing isn't an inherent flaw but is a symptom of my illness. It makes it that much easier to seek the help I need.

December, 14 2013 at 11:26 pm

someone close i knew had obsessive compulsion symdrome at age 17+, gone thru ECT some 20 yrs ago. currently on medication for depression rivotril upon waking up lime 3-4 am, lexapro after bfast, rivotril n lexapro after lunch, remeron before sleep. suicidal thought during day, gloomy mood upon waking up, stomach ache in morning, body ache during day, poor apetite during day but good apetitite after taking remeron. what to do to stop this mental n physical torture? also had anti-pyschotic injection (2 already - once a month). initially it help with this change of doctor, but sypmtom like above comes back after the 1st month. so 2nd month no choice take another anti pyschotic injection.

John Casimates
January, 26 2015 at 11:40 am

I have been suffering from MDD for at least a couple of years. I haven't worjed in 5 months because of it. I have had suicidal ideation and that comes and goes day by day. I have no energy and I cannot do simple tasks. I am currently seeing a psychiatrist and 3 therapists. I don't know if I will be able to work again. Can you please give me some insight on where to go from here?

May, 28 2015 at 7:44 am

I believe this is what I have. I've been to a therapist but it was really hard for me to talk about what happened to me when I was little. I only went a few times. I have a really hard time getting through each day. I have 3 children and I don't want to ever leave them but sometimes I just think it would be so much easier if I wasn't in so much pain anymore. That I didn't have to wake up and remember everything that happened. I don't know what to do. I just want it all to end. Its so horrible that anyone has to live life this way.

March, 12 2016 at 7:59 am

I have lived with MDD for 30 years but I always see myself as a survivor never a victim.People always comment on how bright and happy I am and that is because I have experienced such crushing lows I truly appreciate the beauty of life when I am well.My motto to fellow sufferers is keep active and never ever give up

linda osborne
March, 14 2016 at 4:56 pm

I hope to help 1 or more people with the most debilitating disease out there: MDD severe recurrent and Borderline Personality Disorder, and OCD, severe pain, and digestive problems that are a struggle to "hide" from others. I had 20+ years of severe pain, stomach problems, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, eyes hurting, every muscle in my body hurting, and more .... until I was finally diagnosed with MDD with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I lost 3 really promising career jobs but had to resign because I needed to stay in the bathtub every hour or two in boiling hot water. I could not concentrate, talk normally, had no memory, esp short-term memory. I had real promising career jobs that I knew how to do well, but I didn't know what I had; I went to over 2 dozen doctors including Cleveland Clinic, and everyone just said they could not find anything wrong. I had every test known to man from head to toe. The only thing that was not done was a 2 hour visit with a psychiatrist; I finally had to go to someone to talk to. My last job with AT&T, paid well and I needed the benefits, I was not going to walk out like I did my other jobs. I went into the program that helps with counseling for people who are having trouble with their performance and can get fired if need be. I went into the program and got a wonderful therapist; I told her that the last doctor I went to was a rheumatologist who told me he doesn't handle people like "me". I was suicidal because he was my only hope but he said I did NOT HAVE FIBROMYALGIA, I had depression. I was beyond suicidal but called my therapist and my first Psychiatrist put me in the hospital, knowing that I had depression and not one doctor looked into the "mental" asked of my problems. The other doctors only went by physical symptoms and couldn't find anything wrong with me. After 20 years, I finally had a "life" without pain, without everything I suffered with most of my life. One of the major reasons I have it so severe is because, after 30 years, I told the therapists at the inpatient psychiatric hospital that I was sexually abused by a neighbor and never told anyone about it. I had to go to counseling for many, many things, esp. therapy dealing with the PTSD I was diagnosed with. IF I COULD JUST SAVE ONE PERSON OUT THERE WHO HAS WHAT I HAVE, I WILL BE SO GRATEFUL TO GOD. THE SYMPTOM IS ONE THAT MANY PSYCHIATRISTS NEVER HEARD OF BUT BELIEVED ME: BEFORE I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH MAJOR DEPRESSION I HAD THIS TINGLING THROUGHOUT MY HEAD AND BACK OF MY HEAD AND NECK. THEN I WOULD FEEL LIKE LIQUID FLOWING IN MY VEINS AND MY BODY HURT SO BACK. I HAD TO LIVE IN THE HOT, HOT WATER TO SURVIVE. I CAN TELL WHEN I AM NEEDING HELP BECAUSE OF THE TINGLING IN THE BACK OF MY HEAD (THERE ARE GIANT "BUMPS" 2 of them, AND THEY DRIVE ME CRAZY. PLEASE TELL TELL TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THIS. I HAVE HAD DOCTORS BAFFLED UNTIL I WAS TREATED FOR THE DEPRESSION AND THE PAIN AND TINGLING WENT AWAY. I have always wondered if there is anyone that experiences this like I have. If you are experiencing so many symptoms and the doctors cannot find anything wrong with you, keep trying, going to every kind of doctor there is. But, if you don't get anywhere, SEE A PSYCHIATRIST!!! He/she will be the piece of the puzzle that will fit into the questions of severe pain you don't have to live with!! God Bless All!

August, 23 2016 at 8:52 pm

I started 14 years ago with PTSD from Domestic Violence during two back to back pregnancies. I escaped my abuser while both children were in diapers. I slid from Depression into MDD about 8 years ago. I used to be bubbly, joyful and had a zest for life before it all but now, I can't even work. I have Fibro, several spine issues, peripheral neuropathy and osteoarthritis. I am 49. I take meds and have been in therapy for 10 years. I want to try TMS but Medicaid does not cover it. Before I was diagnosed with the PTSD and subsequent depression, I told people I felt like I had a brain injury but that t wasn't physical. I hate he my brain is now. I want to get better but it's not. I don't know what to do. I am wasting away.

September, 30 2016 at 4:20 pm

I have just recently been diagnosed with ptsd and severe mdd and for years i thought i had bipolar when clearly ive been misdiagnosed!!! I remember wandering y in the hell the meds for my bipolar never worked and made me have worse thoughts and actions towards suicide attempts.... I guess now i know y and doing my research on my newly diagnoses i found this witch is really helpfull is explains me perfectly and how i live my everyday life now i feel horrible for thinking my therapist was crazy and didnt know what she was doing!!! Glad i did my research before switching clinics!!!

June, 25 2018 at 4:06 pm

Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve lived with MDD all my life... but for some reason it has been harder to snap out of it for the last couple of months. I am so used to thinking that “I am good at making myself feel better” by smiling, laughing, telling jokes, or making it by turning into a workaholic. None of it seems to be working. Fibromyalgia and Hypersomnia doesn’t help. It can be so hard to simply “move” at times. Antidepressants makes me more tired because of my sleep disorder I think. But I made a phone call today and decided to visit a psychiatrist again, something i have been avoiding because I just can’t take antidepressants. But let’s see how it goes. My therapist asked me to discuss a mood stabilizer. I’m so afraid of meds. I can’t function if I fall asleep. Thanks so much for allowing this platform be a place of comfort and hope. God Bless!

August, 19 2018 at 8:35 pm

I have been struggling with major depression since college. Once a year---sometimes more frequently--I am absolutely floored by depression. It usually last about 3 weeks and it is absolute hell. The only thing that keeps me going is the thought that I know I will come out of it. BUT--it always comes back...….

August, 9 2021 at 3:13 pm

I’ve been dealing with depression since I was injured in the military, but it has got unbearable Spence I lost my husband and didn’t have insurance and social security took back the money of the mounts he died in ( he died 9 minutes befor the new month,then my bank was hit by fraud and 14000 was stolen and the bank didn’t cover it, I almost lost my house, my car was hit by a hit and run my son-in-law took the money, my little dog that helper me so much after loosing my husband got injured and had to hav surgery and now she has terminal cancer. I’ve been supporting my daughter and her husband and two grandsons (adulation) and my daughter stol 3000 from her son and is doing meth, now I’m selling my house on a quick sale. My mom says it is all my fault because I spoiled my kids and gave them everything they wanted, but I didn’t most of the time i could barley give them there needs let alone there wants. That’s just a sample of the things that has happened. And now I feel guilty for telling my daughter that she couldn’t liv here any more. But when she lived with me at times she would yell at me and she has a foul mouth, I think she is by polar it runs in my family.I’m in constant pain I’ve had 4 neck surgeries, lower back surgeries both knee with one being replaced and shoulder now they want to replace the other knee and do surgery I also have fibermyalgia , hart problems , a seratonin defishiomcy and sleep apnea. I wish I could die every day but I won’t kill myself because I’m a germ believer in heaven and hell. Sometimes I think maybe I’m the one that died and this is my hell. I feel that there has been a hole ripped in the middle of me that won’t heel.

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