my depressions & anxiety story
I thought I'd try write out my story tonight as I'm really struggling and just need somewhere to vent.
The first half of 2020 was perhaps the happiest I had ever been. I've had depression and anxiety since 2012, and although it was stressful, it was manageable. I was content with my relationships, my friendship circle was wide, I was working, losing weight, feeling confident - everything was absolutely perfect. Around September I started going into a depression, which I thought I could handle, that eventually collapsed into a lot of health anxiety (you might be able to see my old posts from that time). TL;DR after a dentist appointment I became obsessed that there was something wrong with me and that I'd die or my parents would die. This climaxed into two major panic attacks where I nearly passed out, and several weeks in a disassociated state. I left my job and just tried focusing on myself. I started medication that worked wonders on my overall mood, anxiety and disassociation for a few months and at the start of 2021 I got to move out from my parents place and move in with all my friends, and that was admittedly pretty fun and exciting, though I still struggled within. The medication had stopped my panic attacks, but after a few months the problems came back, and I still struggled in finding joy and peace.
I moved out with my partner in May 2021 and endured the lockdowns, which exacerbated my symptoms. I was in a disassociated state for several months, trying to hold down a job and work on our relationship, but this didn't pan out. My partner wasn't very supportive during this period and would put a lot of guilt and blame onto me for my situation. Christmas passed, my birthday passed, my pet passed away and everything moved by me in a blink of an eye with no emotional resonance.
Fast forward to today and here I am. I ended things with my partner, I'm not working, I've tapered off my medication with help from my psych and it's much the same. For the last several weeks the disassociation is gone, but I still feel zapped of all life. Nothing makes me especially happy anymore and I've always got a nervous ball of tension being squeezed in my abdomen. Enjoying the moment is really hard; I have brainfog a lot of the time - so much so that any really *deep* or complex conversations make my thoughts really hard to organise, or when I meet new people I struggle to know what to say and do. If I could be half as happy as I was in 2020, just for a day, I'd cry.
Please try to remember your reality is in the present moment outside of your mind this is where you need to focus your attention.
Ill just let you know something that I learned in therapy...... the two trainees who where running our therapy had the whole group of people who where struggling with OCD to write down one intrusive thought each anonymously and then put it in the bucket.... everyone did this ( including the trainees)......... the point of this exercise was to just gentle show people that "everyone one of us has intrusive thoughts and images" it's normal for people to have these.
When you have an intrusive thought or image maybe you could try to gentley remind yourself that everyone has intrusive thoughts and images it's normal and then gentle bring your attention onto something in the present moment.
I understand sometimes we don't want to practice our skills but I agree with the health professionals the more you can practice the skills the easier and assessable they will become for you..
In my experience if I ever need my tools I automatically go to them because I have practiced them so much and they have become engrained in my life.
Practice being in the present moment as much as you can because the more you do this the less you will be in your head.
I understand that you find putting your attention on screen time it breaks your rumination/annalysing...... I think if you do this alot then not do it, you may find it difficult to put your full attention in the present moment and when you try to do this your mind may then be going fast due to anxiety and you find it harder to get it under control and then life in the present can feel uncalm within you from the OCD cycle because your attention doesn't have something to fucus on so it goes inside your mind, you need to redirect it to the present moment.
When you practice being in the present moment ( life in general) please really try to put your attention in the present moment ... on the task at hand... really practice this ...even when you are out driving your car really practice to try to notice all the things you see as you are driving, really put your attention on this task...
I remember when I first started doing this task while driving I never use to notice the shadows on the road but after putting my full attention on all the things I could see I noticed this.
When you are talking to people, really practice trying to listen to what they are saying... put your full attention it.
Thank-you so much Petal. I read this earlier this week and I'm trying to practice it more, as well as staying away from my phone. I think my time being disassociated has also made this quite hard; when reality felt super unreal and my thoughts were scrambled I didn't want to notice my surroundings because I found them quite distressing. It's like I have trained my brain to be constantly inside of itself.
I'm also trying to make a habit of reassuring myself that all of these symptoms can be attributed to anxiety - when I start worrying that my mind is 'broken', or I'm losing touch with myself and memories, or that my 'consciousness' is broken and I'll never return to myself, I'm trying to get in the habit of calling it out for what it is - anxiety.
I'm seeing a psychiatrist tomorrow and we will discuss these issues and what my options are. Honestly there's a part of me that wants to try medication if only because it can provide some relatively-immediate relief, but I'm also aware that these are things that I've struggled with probably for most of my life at this point, and that medication shouldn't be the be-all end-all.
I'm curious what you mean by intrusive thoughts as I feel like I've experienced some of varying kinds.
Also huzzah for a new forum redesign!! 🙂
Just a small update because I’m really struggling. I just feel like a total zombie. Nothing makes me happy or giddy. Talking to my friends I just feel totally blank-headed, can’t concentrate, can’t make quippy jokes or laugh. Everything comes out monotone. I don’t feel particularly depressed or anxious, unless it’s all going on in the background. I don’t feel depersonalised / derealisation either, I feel more grounded that I have been previously, but in social situations I just feel really stupid, I’m not invested, I just feel like my personhood or personality has been ripped out of me. Anytime I’m with people I feel awkward, and then I apologise for being awkward and not talking much. I’ve been barely eating, constantly ruminating and scared to take my new medication.
What happened to the confident young man I was? The joking, fun-loving, easy going, compassionate and emotional young man. I don’t feel too depressed. I’m still going out for walks and trying to meditate, having showers, making my bed, all of that.
I just wanted to be better. When the disassociation dissipated I thought I would be; even when disassociated I didn’t have these feelings so intensely. Constantly reminding myself that this is depression / anxiety feels weird because it just isn’t how I’ve experienced it traditionally. When I’ve been depressed I can put on a brave face and still try imitate who I was. Now? Just total nothing.