Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Dysthymic Disorder

It’s true.

I have Early Onset Dysthymic Disorder.

And contrary to a friend’s small son who decided it meant I could see dinosaurs everywhere I went ย {… wait, is that a T Rex behind you?}
it means I live with something way more familiar to most people than they realize. So let me give you the low-down.

Sometimes called Chronic Depression, Dysthymic Disorder can be hard to diagnose. It has the same symptoms as that of Major Depression but instead of one seriously intense bout lasting for one short period, this rides in and out in waves, and needs to be tracked back for longer than two years, with symptoms often beginning in childhood, and continuing long into adulthood, with a hard recovery process. Needless to say, it can be exhausting, but there is treatment available.

Below is the entire list of various symptoms for Dysthymia. Pleaseย contact your doctor if you or anyone you know is experiencing these debilitating symptoms today.

Repeated withdrawing from family and loved ones.
Repeated inability to leave one’s home.
No focus, inability to concentrate, presents as restless, distracted, agitated for no apparent reason.
A need to avoid usually enjoyable activities.
Decreased productivity at home and at work.
Increased reliance on alcohol, sedatives, and drugs.

Easily overwhelmed (often for no reason).
Overwhelming feelings of guilt.
Irritability (with very little provocation).
Irrational impatience.
Indecisive, choices cause confusion and emotional meltdowns. Any extra stress triggers an inability to communicate why.
Feeling miserable, sad, hopeless (overwhelmingly so).
Flare ups of anger out of the blue.
Self confidence issues.

Thought Process:
“I’m a failure.”
“Everything is my fault.”
“Life’s not worth living.”
“Nothing good ever happens to me.”
“People would be better off without me”
“I want to be far, far, away… I want a new life…”
“I’m a mess. I’m broken. I’m worthless.”

Physical Symptoms:
Extremely tired, and exhausted, for no reason. (Often mistaken for chronic fatigue).
Contracts common illnesses easily, and takes longer to recover.
Churning gut, sometimes nauseous.
Excessive over-sleeping.
Shortened attention span.
Significant weight gain or loss.
Poor Memory
Mysterious muscle aches and pains, phantom pains.
Loss or drastic changes in appetite according to stress levels.
Limbs and body feeling excessively heavy for no reason.

If you have many of these, in combination, that repeatedly affect your everyday quality of life, make an appointment with your doctor today.

*Do not use this blog site to diagnose yourself, or use it as any form of self-treatment. Please remember, I too am a sufferer, NOT a counsellor and am only blogging about my disorder in order to provide others with community and encouragement. See your doctor today!



  1. edna stratton wilson

    January 10, 2015 at 5:59 PM

    Hi Christine, just finished reading your blog, I so understand where you are coming from. I have had my own issues over the years, & I can identify with you. I believe we have a lot more people who are suffering and your blog will give hope to the distressed that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still .
    (Corrie Ten Boon who endured the Nazi German camp ) God bless you as you continue this informative blog, I will continue to follow your blog, keep up the fantastic encouraging words of our Lord & Saviour . Hugs

  2. Hi Christine, I thought I had read all your blog last night, but this afternoon I realized I hadn’t, just finished, what a fabulous job you are doing, letting the world know about dysthymia,& especially about Jesus & how He is always with us,& in Him we can find hope. I will continue to read your postings it’s good to know someone, you Christine have taken up the torch to be a light for Jesus in this manner; may God richly bless you & your family daily as you fight the battle & lean on Him. Your friend in Jesus Edna Hugs

    • Christine Duncan

      January 11, 2015 at 7:25 PM

      Thanks Edna! There are months worth of posts waiting for you… feel free to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and open the archived months menu you’ll find there. And look for new posts daily by simply bookmarking the home page ๐Ÿ™‚
      It’s my prayer that everyone sees the hope that’s available to them as they battle or live with various disorders and illnesses, especially believers, because we’re prone to the same stigmas that non-believers are up against.

  3. I’d never heard of your disorder before! But we’re not so far apart, I have Major Depressive Disorder. Depression stinks. I’m so sorry you have to deal with it but I’m glad you are able to blog about it. I find that it really helps me. Look forward to learning more about you! Take care of yourself!

    • Christine Duncan

      February 23, 2015 at 8:36 AM

      Thanks Melanie! They are very closely related, in fact, someone with chronic depression can be super susceptible to major depression, on top of the dysthymia, and has not happened to me in my 29 years with it, and I pray it never does because apparently it is overwhelmingly difficult to get through.
      You’re so right though. It stinks. The writing really does help so much, and knowing what it is I have means I’ve been able to work around it better than all the years I had it and just thought I was a lousy kid, teen, wife, and mom…
      Glad we connected, blogs and writing have a way of doing that. You take care of yourself too, and keep blogging!

  4. Oh, my. I have never heard of this and, yet, so very many symptoms fit…not all, but many. I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and its symptoms are many of these as well.
    WOW! I like the dinosaur part better!!! : ) Made me smile!
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • Christine Duncan

      April 15, 2015 at 12:25 PM

      Chronic depression is hard to diagnose especially because of all those familiar looking symptoms, and it’s why I felt I needed to devote a page to the complete list of things that affect anyone who has this.
      I’ve heard Fibro and chronic D can be closely linked, so I’m not surprised.
      I laughed so hard at the dinosaur comment… it still tickles me to no end! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Christine, I’m not even sure where to begin, so I’ll just jump in. I finally gave a name to my depression when my younger daughter was a newborn. I did not call it postpartum depression because it was not all that different from how I felt inside my own head all my life. I had always called it being a “cloudy” personality. Then, a few years later, when I first read a description of dysthymia, I practically shouted, “YES! This ME! But it’s not JUST me!” Fast forward several years to Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) 2015, and I’m on Cheerleaders 4 Christ on FB, and there’s your post, and I click over to your page, and here’s this tab. Oh my word. Your lists (above ) are my story! Not everything, but so much. What a gift to meet a fellow blogger who is using her words to encourage and educate. Subscribing this instant. Will try not to clog up your comments with this much every time. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you and bless you!

    • Christine Duncan

      November 25, 2015 at 1:05 PM

      Clog away, Elizabeth! I love connecting with anyone who lives bravely with this disorder! I get tears in my eyes reading your words “how I felt inside my own head all my life…” simply because I instantly know what that one statement really entails.
      And God’s faithfulness, it is not confined by our depression or moodiness, but it is there in spite of it, and your words are one more ounce of proof that He never wants us to do this alone!
      Grateful to get to know you, girl. I absolutely want to stay in touch… and I’m always looking for guest bloggers who face this daily ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy Thanksgiving and Lord bless ya!

  6. I have tried to find help and my attempts fail. I relate to some of the descriptions of the D disease and am relieved to find this post. Thankful you can relate and yet appear to cope with life. My illness has made me suicidal in the past, the last attempt almost one year to the date. I prayed Philippians over and over. I started an inspiration board last year. God is in control. I just do not know what else to do.

    • Christine Duncan

      June 2, 2016 at 1:28 PM

      Hope, my heart knows that feeling of relief that comes with knowing someone else understands how this feels, the constant chaos a mood disorder creates, inside and out. So I do not read your comment lightly. You are not alone, and you are not unseen, my friend. There is One who can keep you afloat during all of this.
      If you ever need to vent, talk, question, or just reach out, you can do that here. I write with people like us in mind. And I will be praying for you, have no doubt. Praying that if all you do is cling, you can cling to the Life Preserver and He will get you through. We have that promise! Never forget it. I even have it pasted around my house in places where my brain might register it on the hard days.
      We are not unseen. And He will hold onto us when we no longer can, even as the ocean of depression rages.
      I hope you have someone to talk to about this medically, as well. It’s so important.
      I’ll be praying that this lifts, so you can really live once more!

  7. Thanks for the follow Christine! I loved what you shared in this post. It is great information, especially for a parent with a child/teen. More knowledge means more of a head start in getting the necessary treatment. I pray that God will continue to uphold you as well as give you peace during those stormy times. I so look forward for Christ’s return so that we are all healed and set free from this disorders. Blessings! Stacy

  8. Hi Christine,

    Was just wondering what kind of approaches you’ve taken to address the dysthymia? (eg. psychotherapy, medication, ECT?)

    • Christine Duncan

      June 11, 2016 at 3:15 PM

      Hey Sabrina! Thanks for visiting the blog!

      I have done some group therapy for a small while, and some medication with regular checking in with my doctor. The medication journey is still being tweaked, I was having issues with additional side-effects from two initial trial meds but I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out.
      I also have some mentors within the blog and mental health community that I rely on for support, especially for my difficult days, and self-care is my middle name right now, lol.
      Learning what MY normal looks like compared to those without a mood disorder has been vastly important, and the ways to avoid my triggers.
      And my faith, well, it continues to be the foundation behind it all. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • That’s great ๐Ÿ˜Š I have a long history of dysthymia too. I’ve been in therapy for years, but after falling into a deeper depression, I’m now looking into other options. Can you elaborate on what you mean by “Learning what MY normal looks like compared to those without a mood disorder”? I’m probably going to begin medication and had visions of feeling/acting “normal” (ie. Happy, no self-loathing, insecurity).

        (BTW this blog is great. I’m a Christian too, absolutely in love with my Savior, but it has been a struggle convincing other Christians that this is not a “thinking”problem that I can just *will* myself to get over. I’m usually told that I’m not believing enough. Great to see I’m not alone.)

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