[Ramble / Adv] So I Think I'm Depressed

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[Ramble / Adv] So I Think I'm Depressed

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:30 pm

So, I made a comment on the 5 Must-Follow Man Rules DNL article about my emotional numbness re his point about asking for help (protip: I don't do that a lot - even being here is a massive wound to my pride). I was advised that what I'm feeling is often an expression of depression - specifically anhedonia - and to check out Hyperbole and a Half's posts on the author's battles with depression. As it turns out, I had read the second depression post (the one with the mysterious humour corn) when it was posted and promptly forgot about the site altogether. But I read both and thought on it for a while, which led me to this ramble I made on the article:

Note: I've clarified some things and fixed spelling errors in the quote from the original comment

MapWater wrote:Okay, I read those posts right after I saw your suggestion and decided to sleep on them to mull over my thoughts for a while.

I do relate to a large part of it. I can't say I had a day where I simply woke up and felt sad, but a string of incidents destroyed a lot of joy that I should have been experiencing in the last year of high school and continued through University. From the end of high school, I think that's when the actually numbness set in. The sadness part didn't last long - in my circumstances, I had to be the rock for my mum and, even if I'm proud of myself for being there for her, it took a toll on me. I didn't have time for sadness. Right now is one of those times.

But, so many things in her posts jump out at me. A little bit of bully-like self-narration goes on when I'm in a particularly bad state. Or, at least it did for a while. My enthusiasm for a lot of things I love died off, leaving me with no patience for anything. I'd play a game for ten minutes and feel bored, listen to music for ten minutes and feel bored. Days would go by like this. A six month period in 2013 was the worst. I slept for most of the day, got up, did nothing, back to bed. I feel, sometimes, like I'm faking what I'm feeling as a conscious response instead of a reflexive, emotional one.

But, for me, it seems to come in waves. It hasn't been a steady, miasma of sadness / numbness. Some days I feel... genuine? And practically normal outside my social anxieties and such. This weekend is a good example since I actually felt pretty damn good for the most part. Work, in general, is satisfying. It's both a distraction and a passion so I usually feel okay there. My enthusiasm has taken a small dive since the start of the year, but I'm trying to get that back in gear. (it's coming back, yay!)

One theory I do have is my numbness and #3 have a big link, with #3 being a driving force behind it. My diet is terrible and always has been. Always. Started after a bout of tonsillitis that last 18 months when I was little and made me terrified to eat because it hurt so much. It has declined even further since that last year of high school where my regimented meals self-destructed in the madness that is University. It has really not recovered in the slightest. It's better in some ways (I eat more varied foods now!) and worse in others (I eat like one meal a day. A small one). I find and have always found eating one of the most laborious chores of all. Even when it's a food I love, it's an annoyance rather than something to savour in most circumstances. I notice I feel like absolute filth when I REALLY haven't eaten well. When I DO eat well, a lot of my problems do fade away. And not to the background - they disappear. Hobbies are exciting! People are fun to be around (err, sometimes)! I don't hate myself so much! So I might be one of the lucky few for whom a massive change in eating and general diet could actually be the ticket to feeling better.

But, yeah, because I wax and wane over my numbness, it's really confusing. Maybe I have been stewing on depression? Maybe my lifestyle has degraded so much it's been destroying my emotional capacity? The shit I've been through would totally influence both.

This is really dumb, but I'm scared I do have depression. It's just really scary to think I do.

Basically, the general response is to see a doctor. I don't expect to hear much different here, but I still wouldn't mind the input. Especially from people have either been there done that or are there doing that...

But re-reading that last sentence is poignant. I am pretty terrified of the idea that I am, in fact, depressed. I don't know a lot of people in person who have suffered depression, but those that I do know have found it very difficult to escape. One could argue it's the root of a lot of my problems if I do suffer from it, but it sounds more like it's adding another issue to the pile rather than finding out the cause of it all.

Anyway, yeah, advice or experiences would be really appreciated. Even if it's an obligatory 'see the doctor' comment. Razz

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Re: [Ramble / Adv] So I Think I'm Depressed

Post by Aggrax on Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:20 am

MapWater wrote:But re-reading that last sentence is poignant. I am pretty terrified of the idea that I am, in fact, depressed. I don't know a lot of people in person who have suffered depression, but those that I do know have found it very difficult to escape. One could argue it's the root of a lot of my problems if I do suffer from it, but it sounds more like it's adding another issue to the pile rather than finding out the cause of it all.

Anyway, yeah, advice or experiences would be really appreciated. Even if it's an obligatory 'see the doctor' comment. Razz

When I first got a call from my doctor that confirmed that, yes, I did have diabetes, all I did for 20 minutes was stare at the dumpster outside of work and cry. The idea that I had done something to screw up a part of my body so badly that it stopped functioning correctly scared me more than anything ever has and, I thought at the time, ever would.

A few years later, I started to admit that I might have depression and I realized that there was something that could be scarier. The idea that there was a condition so insidious, so sneaky, that I could suffer under it for years and not notice, that I would actively be convincing myself I didn't have it at all, was scary enough that I lied and ran and hid it from myself until there was nowhere left to go. I was scared and I'm still scared and maybe there's a part of me that will always be scared.

But there is another part of me, a part that is tired. It's tired of sitting alone in a room, crying and hating myself. It's tired of the self doubt and the shame and the insecurity. It's tired of not being able to just be fucking happy for once. And I think, I really do, that there is a part of you that's just like that MapWater. It's that part of you that had the courage to post this. To confront the reality in front of you and face it, maybe not head on or all at once, but still face it. And if that part of you is anything like that part of me, it's going to be trying hard, so very, very hard, to get you to listen. To try. To work. I'm really good at not listening, at ignoring and belittling that voice. But it isn't going to stop trying. I bet your's isn't either.

Go to a doctor. See what can be done to make your life better. Try and take it one step at a time. And if you think you're going to stumble, that you can't do it, please tell us. Because I would, without hesitation, bet every dollar I ever made that the wonderful, glorious people here will do their best to pick you up, dust you off and tell you "It's okay. You can still do this. We are with you." I know they will, because that's what I would do.
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Re: [Ramble / Adv] So I Think I'm Depressed

Post by Werel on Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:41 am

Oh Aggrax, that was lovely.

MapWater, I don't know how helpful my experience might be, because I pretty much always knew (at least from age 9 or 10) that I had depression, or at least that something was wrong with me which made me not want to get out of bed or eat or talk or do anything at all. I never really wondered whether I was depressed. But in your case, where it's not so glaringly obvious, and there's not a loud voice in your head going "WHAT THE FUCK, THIS IS ALL WRONG," I might not actually say you need to go to the doctor ASAP. It probably wouldn't hurt, but what you're describing about your diet makes me think that eating better for a while, and logging your moods (seriously, just jot down a number 1-10 at the end of the day) while you consistently eat decent food, might be more helpful. You could certainly have one of those depressions that comes and goes, that doesn't leave you feeling totally wrecked but simply sub-optimal-- I wouldn't rule that out. That's worth looking into treatment for, if better food (and maybe more physical activity) don't get you to where you want to be.

The prospect of having depression being terrifying is something I can empathize with, though. Hard. At 14 or so, the thought that I'd need pills to keep me working right, for the rest of my damn life, was paralyzingly scary. But now, 14 years of pills later, I don't think about it much. It's as normal as brushing my teeth or tying my shoes. Just one of those things you do so that your teeth won't rot and you won't trip on your shoelaces and you won't lie in bed crying for a week. Razz If you do figure out that you have depression, I can tell you that it gets way less scary and way more... predictable? manageable? ordinary-feeling? with time. It's not a death sentence, or a proclamation that You Will Never Be Happy Again. Honest!

And yeah, man, we'll be here to tell you that you can get through it. A lot of us have. You can too.
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Re: [Ramble / Adv] So I Think I'm Depressed

Post by Caffeinated on Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:05 pm

MapWater wrote:From the end of high school, I think that's when the actually numbness set in. The sadness part didn't last long - in my circumstances, I had to be the rock for my mum and, even if I'm proud of myself for being there for her, it took a toll on me. I didn't have time for sadness. Right now is one of those times.

As I read this bit, I thought about how sometimes a person will face a crisis in their life, and it takes all their internal resources to deal with it, and in order to devote those resources, they'll kind of shut down everything else inside. And there's an implicit promise to that inner part of the self, that when the crisis is over, they'll deal with the other stuff. But shutting things down doesn't come without a cost. And a persistent sadness or numbness could be a cost you're paying in this case.

I think, especially given how much of an influence diet seems to have, that it would be a good idea to really focus some energy on self-care. Food in particular, but also sleep and exercise and regular social interaction. It sounds like you've spent some time putting your own needs last (which can be really necessary sometimes!), but now it would be helpful to start bumping them up the list of priorities a bit.
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Re: [Ramble / Adv] So I Think I'm Depressed

Post by Guest on Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:50 pm

I'm sorry I kind of disappeared from this thread, especially after I got such good responses. Real life reared it's head and I got busy. But, long story short, it resulted in good things I hope.

I'll reply at length when I can - I'm limited to checking out the forums to keep up to date for now. But thanks to all of you (Aggrax, your post was especially touching) for your responses.

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Re: [Ramble / Adv] So I Think I'm Depressed

Post by jcorozza on Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:04 pm

I can definitely relate a lot to this - About 7 years ago, after college, I moved out to Seattle for grad school with my boyfriend. I didn't know anyone in town, my boyfriend didn't have a job, and I wasn't starting my program for a month. It was awful - my apartment was a "daylight basement" (read: cave), which didn't help. Even though I had things on the horizon, and someone to live with, everything felt utterly hopeless. I had panic attacks. I ended up flying home for three weeks, but when I returned, so did the depression. I went to the school's ER, and they have me something for the anxiety which did not work AT ALL. As soon as the TA training started, and I was interacting with other people regularly, though, it went away, so I was able to ignore it. For like four more years, until it came like 1000 times worse, after an awful breakup. For the first few months, it was a combo of feeling hopeless and suicidal and occasionally numb. Then it moved from sometimes numb to sometimes okay - for me, that difference was often because I was at work or school, which kept me social and occupied. Even now, it creeps back for short periods - maybe even just an hour or two. Some people get really long episodes, and others don't

But yeah, of course, see a doctor. Well, ideally, see some sort of therapist and a psychiatrist - if they work at the same clinic, even better. For some people, just the therapy is enough, but it's rare for just the meds to help without also having a professional to talk to regularly. Also, regular doctors are often TERRIBLE at prescribing stuff for mental health - they tend to stick to what's most popular/effective for most people, and don't ever suggest changing if they aren't working well.
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Re: [Ramble / Adv] So I Think I'm Depressed

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:01 am

To keep the post neater, I won't quote unless replying to specifics. Razz

@Aggrax: First of all, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm almost at a loss for words in how to reply. But I do feel like I'm at the end of my rope when it comes to my own insecurities and neuroses. My patience is running thin but nothing is really getting better - I'm just sick of being this way and don't feel like enough is changing.

I feel like my own life is leaving me behind sometimes.

@Werel: I can relate to you initial knowledge of depression with my own anxieties - I very quickly learned as a child I was terrified of interacting with people and it didn't seem like that was... normal. There's enough on the family's plate without worrying about me visiting a doctor about possible depression. Have I mentioned I'm terrified of bringing this up with them? Because I am. Not because they wouldn't be supportive, but we're at misery limit right now - I'd rather not force it worse now. But I can manage for now in eating better and improving my fitness levels.

I'll take you at your word on dealing with depression just becoming a part of your routine. It's good to have that told to me directly.

@Caffeinated: I remember having a talk with my mum and sister about how I seemed emotionally fortified shortly after the worst we went through ended. Neither of them seemed worried about me, but they did agree I was emotionally stubborn when the shit hits the fan. I think you might be right that I 'earned' that emotional 'strength' by giving up really being able to turn it off.

I wanted numbness? Well, I got numbness.

When it comes to food, that's going to be it's own struggle. I've essentially trained myself to operate on five hours sleep (in the last few years) and simply not eat all that much (over the last 18 years). To cut a long story short on the latter issue, I had tonsilitis on and off for a year when I was 5 that made it very difficult to eat (despite my parents best efforts). I think that experience stayed with me because I just didn't eat much at all after that and it was hard to convince me to. Couple that with being a picky bastard when it comes to what I eat when I do, I'm a health wreck. Laughing

That said, I need to eat better so I will.

@jcorozza: It's strangely comforting to know someone else feels the numbness come and go similarly. Thank you for sharing.

That's pretty much a third vote for the doctor too. When I can reasonably do so, I'm going to need to broach this with the family and get me to a doctor...

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Re: [Ramble / Adv] So I Think I'm Depressed

Post by jcorozza on Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:21 pm

Just keep in mind, you might not like the first doctor/therapist you work with! It's okay to ask for someone else, if you have that option, and if it doesn't feel right, do it sooner rather than later. A lot of people give up on it the process too early because they think it's not helping, when really they just have a poorly matched therapist. I've had...6 different ones - 2 early on I liked a lot, but they were interns, and then I got sent to a guy my dad's age - I just was not comfortable telling this guy about my issues AT ALL.
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