Posted by: Pearl | 2009-04-15

extreme depression now showing outside

Hi Doc

I just don’ t know what to do. I have been retrenched for about 8 months and every day I wake up to phone calls, emails and letters from creditors demanding their money. I am also a single parent and only just managing to keep my child in school. Of late I have noticed a variety of strange physical symptoms which I now understand to be linked to my depression. The top three are insomnia of 1-5 hours a night, massive hair loss and unexplained back pains. I also am experiencing shortness of breath, listlessness and pallor. I don’ t have a cent to spare outside of looking after my young child and don’ t know where to seek help, esp as my medical aid has been discontinued. I just want to know if there is anything I can do to help myself in terms of my physical symptoms. I know I will feel and thus look a lot better once I get a job but I am going to job interviews looking haggard and listless due to inability to sleep and a strange sense of being cut off from reality. I am worried that until I look and feel better physically, my situation will not end.

Is there anything I can do or take (inexpensive) just to get rid of some of these physical symptoms? I have been wearing a wig for the past month because of the hair loss. It is all very stressful and I am desperate to at least be healthy again. What do you recommend for the physical symptoms of extreme depression?

Thank you kindly


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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Dear Pearl

I agree with you, it is important for you to get help for the depression, as you need "drive" and energy to be able to look for work and to be able to get and hold a job. What you need is a "proper" antidepressant like Prozac.

Unfortunately antidepressants are expensive and you probably also need psychological counselling to teach you some stress management techniques. I think you should strongly consider to go to a provincial hospital, preferably the psychiatric department of an academic hospital. I know the qeues are long and it is not always pleasant but at least you will get effective treatment for next to nothing. As soon as you are on medication, you will start sleeping better, your poor brain will be able to make serotonin which will improve your mood, and your energy levels will rise. You can also get a multivitamin at the hospital that will help for the hairloss. Over the counter medication, herbs and other natural treatment will not be sufficient for you and in the end works out just as expensive.

Be brave and just do it, you won't be sorry in the end and your child will pick the dividends of a mom that feels better!

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