Plagued with a history of abuse and public scrutiny, Dylan Archer wrote a suicide note on his blog. The feedback he received saved his life.
Commentary from Dr. Carolyn Phelps
Dylan referenced that he has “double depression…Dysthymic and Major Depression.” So what does that mean? “double depression” is a lay-term used to refer to a condition where by an individual experiences episodes of Major Depression that are superimposed upon a Dysthymic. Think of Dysthymic as the low grade chronic fever of the depression universe. The precise definition includes feeling “depressed (in kids this might come across as irritable or they may report irritability instead of sadness) more days than not for a period of 2 years ; along with 2 of the following – problems with appetite or eating, sleep, energy level, ability concentrate, low self esteem, or feelings of hopelessness. This is a persistent low grade depression that in the course of those 2 years is never absent for more than 2 consecutive months. In fact, in the new Psychiatric Classification system (DSM5) Dysthymic disorder has been renamed to Persistent Depressive Disorder. In contrast Major Depression typically occurs in discrete episodes, is much more severe and intense feeling and can be much more disruptive to a person’s overall ability to function, often in even very basic ways. For example, in severe major depressive episodes, a person may find it difficult to get out of bed and shower much less attend school or function at work. The person with a Major Depressive Episode experiences more symptoms more intensely and may also experience morbid thoughts (wishing one was dead, or “It would be ok if I never woke up again”) or suicidal thoughts. In “double depression ,” once the major depression is resolved, the dysthymia ( low grade depression) may persist. In cases where the individual only experiences Major Depression, once the Major Depression has lifted there is a return to normal, reasonably positive mood. Either condition alone, or in concert together, warrant treatment.