Blue's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (life viewed through the lens of depression)
Some of you are aware of my existence by now, but for those who aren't, I'm fairly new to this forum. I've been stumbling my way along with depression for somewhere around seven years. It was triggered by a life event and exacerbated by circumstances since then, which I've done my best to eliminate where possible. About a year ago I changed track with that and made the huge decision to end the relationship I was in. Rough though that was, I finally started to see a bit of progress. I've still had a fight on my hands, to stay afloat and get control of my time and money and my peace of mind, all of which were tied up for a long time in untangling my finances from those of my ex (not his fault, the bank made it really damn hard, and my job and my own state of mind weren't helping).
Now I've started enjoying things again, and am not always instantly down when I'm on my own. I was once a (deliberately) solitary creature who enjoyed my own company and learning everything I could, so it's good to be more like that again. The depression's always there, lurking in the background, but I sometimes go a few weeks at a time without any prolonged episodes. Long enough to start feeling like I'm healing or that my emotions have some concept of cause and effect again. Then down I slam again, sometimes for a day or two, other times for weeks, and it feels like I've made no progress at all. In these periods my mind and my emotions are constantly at war, particularly when I'm alone and/or it's quiet. My mind is calm for the most part, and well aware I'm strong and capable and have strategies and I actively work on those in spite of the depression. My emotions, on the other hand, are running about with flags chock full of negative messages and even though I know it's not (or even close) I feel like everything is collapsing, that I can't deal with it and I just want everything to stop. That's where I'm at, today.
I do have an amazing partner now, who is extremely supportive, and has helped me immensely. My current problem is that I need my friends and family, too. I so rarely have time that isn't ruined by unsociable work hours and also the energy and will to socialise, but my friends are seldom available when I do. In those times I know it may be weeks or months before I can see them again, and I miss them, and that's mostly when I crash again these days. Dunno how to fix that yet, but I need to vent, and here I am. Getting better but having a really crap day.
I admit I chuckled a little, myself, when you commented that "it could have been worse". Not because it's amusing in itself, but because I have thought and said the same thing so many times about my own situation. But again, I've come to some realisations. For starters: so what if it could have been worse? Did it need to be? However bad it could have been, and however much worse others may have had it, I experienced what I did, and it damn well sucked. And that matters. Accepting that your experience matters is probably at the core of it, regardless of those other factors.
And if you're going to compare your experience to those of others, perhaps ask yourself if you would expect anyone else to be doing better, in your shoes? If you wouldn't expect someone else to be able to cope so well, why is your own depression not justified? Although that's not a perfectly definitive measure. Something that would cripple someone else, you or I may walk through like it was nothing, and the things that cripple us may not be a blip on the radar to them. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and our breaking points. I've had some trouble considering my own depression justified, as I went through so much before the proverbial straw broke my back that would make a mess of others, and continued on pretty successfully until that point. It was a rude surprise when I went tumbling over the edge, I can tell you, and I still quite regularly rally against the idea that I wasn't up to dealing with that as well. But it is what it is and I've had to bully myself into accepting that.
I may have heard the reference to replacing a heavy weight with something lighter, but I can't say I've ever thought of it that way directly. More like chipping away at the existing boulder on my shoulder (ooh rhymes, I'm a poet). If that's the same thing, then you're probably already on the right path. Though if I can throw in my two cents, sounds to me like you could afford to dig out some of those splinters from the past, as well as addressing the present and future. Not just stating what happened but really getting into the nuts and bolts of how you feel/felt about each thing, what you did then and what you can or want to do now. Are you angry with your parents and pretending everything's fine (for example)? Even if you don't send it, write them a letter and get it out. That sort of thing. Forgive me if I overstep my bounds, but those are among my methods and they do help.
Hey. I'm glad, no matter how slowly, that you are coming out of the fog. What's that saying? "If you can't fly then run, can't run then walk, can't walk then crawl. Just keep moving forward." Quotes may not have been appropriate in a guess but...easier to discern.
I've been in this fog for more than a month now. I have these moments where I feel, yes, I am coming out. Dare I say it, I feel good at those times. Then...bang. Fallen. And I've fallen a lot both physically and emotionally and the emotional fall is much harder to stand up from. It feels like trying to jump with a very short tether to the ground.
No, I agree, analyzing how we got here, how this occurred helps me to recognize where in the future I could potentially get back to this place. I'm essentially replaying last year, this year, and I put things in place, a counsellor etc. Once I sort out insurance, I will get psychologist, because from my experience, they are more helpful than psyciatrists. Resolving the past though...I'm not sure how, apart from accepting that these things happened to me. In relation to my parents, I have changed the way I interact with them, and they seem to hate it. So while I have changed and asked them to change, there's no respect for me to do so. They love me but they do not respect me, and I would much rather have their respect. They are not my go to for being loved. I agree also, that I should validate my depression, and in doing so validate myself. This happens about 40% of the time, which is a lott bigger than just 1.5 years ago.
Haha, I have thought that myself, about wanting to be a robot essentially. Just logic, no emotion. And you realise you are a slave to emotion and logic is a choice.
All thee coping mechanisms and plans that I have, they have all been suggestions because I never had the right coping tools. Mine were harmful to myself. And any given time of depression, I always question if I have to find the right permutation of techniques to feel better or, if my depression just let me feel better. Like, we're walking around, and under all the bad emotions, we actually feel good, and arbitrarily, that cloud comes down and lifts. Because, I can't figure out something that always works. The reasons why have been there but, when you run out of those and still feel it...I just don't know.
It's an appropriate quote, in this instance, as much for me as an individual as for the situation. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's stagnation and not doing what I can to change a situation that is untenable.
A month is a long time to be in the fog, and it feels so much longer than it is. I can relate to that, the ups and downs, and basically everything you've said about it. Mine's been a couple of weeks so far, and when I say the fog is lifting, it's as much that I'm identifying the problems and the generally crap feeling has evened out and isn't fluctuating so badly. Still no fun, but it's easier to think straight and find the way out when you're not up and down constantly, not knowing if you're Arthur or Martha.
Seeing a psychologist is definitely a good idea, and can probably help you come to some conclusions about resolving your past and your relationship with your parents. Sounds like a tough situation, and one you probably need to make some decisions about so it doesn't keep negatively impacting your life. Couldn't help but think again how like me you are in some ways. You've echoed my stance on human interaction: i.e. "I don't care if I'm liked, but I want to be respected". Respect is a huge thing for me, and I have removed or limited contact with a family member or two myself, because it wasn't there.
I'd be seeing a psychologist myself, if not for the financial factor (and that's just for the GP). I know some bulk bill still, but the bulk billing doctors I've been to are consistently pretty poor, and I'd rather not entrust my mental health to someone who got their medical qualifications from a Cornflakes packet. That said, I know I need to resolve a lot of past stuff, myself. Whilst I can and do talk to my partner and make sure he knows what's going on with me, many of my problems stem from past relationships, and that's the sort of stuff I don't want to be beating him over the head with all the time. He deserves better.
I'm glad you're making some progress with validating yourself and your depression. I've had to do some soul searching on that myself, this time. Realising that after all the work I've put in to knock out the most pressing of my troubles, a goodly portion of my life still sucks. Admitting that in itself is hard, because overall life sucks a lot less than it did, but it's still enough to knock me over periodically. I don't feel justified in doing this badly when life is only half as crap as it used to be.
A month is a long time to be in the fog. As far as I'm concerned, one night of intense fog is too long as well.
Yea, I got a lot out of seeing my last psychologist. Finances were a big (still is really) a big factor for me, when I contacted BeyonBlue, they suggested a psychology center that ended up coosting me 20$ a session. This was because Grad students are the counsellors, but they are supervised by full psychologists. I didn't mind at all, she was more helpful than the psychologist that I saw before here (once because I hated the experience). They learn the newer stuff anyway so...there is also the fact that they have to record you. Again, I didn't mind, all of it as confidential anyway. Maybe you would consider that?
That's exactly how I feel. Unjustified...
To give some background and context, the greatest hurdle for me was my last relationship. It had been in a bad way for a long time for various reasons, so I left before I wound up driving into a tree (which was a very real consideration on more than one occasion).
In itself, that was a healing act. Immediately followed by eight months of hell, trying to get his name off the house. The bank had me jumping through hoops, cost me thousands and thousands of dollars, and stressed the absolute hell out of me. Though it was sufficient, there was no convincing them I had enough income, so I was forced to take on every possible shift to keep my payslips pretty until they approved the loan, though I was in no fit state to work that much and my workplace is pretty stressful in itself. They also kept hinting they'd do an inspection to value the property, so as soon as I got home I would have to be perfectly on top of cleaning and stuff like gardening that I likewise didn't have it in me to do.
Eventually the loan went through and they didn't inspect the place (refusing to tell me one way or another what they were going to do until it was already done), so my stress at the time had been doubled for nothing. Even so I heaved a sigh of relief, and looked at my roster for the next few weeks which was enough to live comfortably on, and not more than I could handle.
Then the moment everything was signed, sealed and paid for with the house, the roster changed. Cut back to minimum hours, virtually all of them set to exactly counter my natural circadian rhythm, and my days off changed to counter the little bit of time I was getting with my partner. Everything was upside down, and I had a fight to fix the days off (that lasted for weeks). Everything else is still wrong, and my ****ing neighbour actively destroys my sleep every chance he gets. No matter how hard I work to fix it, my life goes to hell. I thought I would have a chance to recover just a bit before having to fix the next huge mess in my life. Sure I haven't liked my job much in a long time, but it had just got to a place I could live with for long enough to get myself together and move on. Then it all blew up in my face. Literally the instant I'd overcome the last unbelievably huge thing. So that's what I'm coming to terms with, and what has me in this slump. How do I take steps I can manage, to fix something this big? I don't know. And this is where I am.
I'll start by commending you for having the courage to leave a relationship that was doing you harm. I have had those thoughts that you do, so separating yourself from the main thing that contributes, it is certainly brave and laudable. Especially, considering how you were feeling at the time.
It sounds like you went through what I can only imagine what the inside of a pressure cooker feels like, and you came out the other side, and from what I understand, the other side is better but you still fell into a depression and you can't think why because you are in a better place. Could it be that all the feelings that you had to deal with when everything was going wrong is just catching up to you now? A...delayed onset if you will? All that stress, there is an emotional cost that you have to account for, and people with depression feel that cost all too much.
May I ask, what blew up in your face, or is it your depression that you are talking about?
What if, while working, you slowly took steps (from what you feel is manageable) to look for a new job? Is that unrealistic?
I am truly sorry you are feeling stuck where you are.
Thanks. It's surprising how many people at the time told me they thought I was really brave for making that step, even the ones that didn't know the extent of what I was going through. I'd been with him for about eight years so yeah, it was pretty hard.
The inside of a pressure cooker is a pretty good description for it. Still feels much the same, quite often. And I do know I have a lot of residual stuff to deal with from that period. That's why I think a psychologist would be of some use to me. I have a lot from that, and indeed relationships before that one too (one of which was downright abusive), to deal with. And my days before relationships. There's a whole big mess there. I had the usual bullying and stuff at school, my parents were cold and distant, I grew up without affection or much encouragement or signs of any love between them either, before they eventually divorsed. Big messy custody battle. The list goes on.
The thing that blew up in my face was work. Like I said, I had a roster lined up that I could live with. Enough to get by comfortably, not so much I couldn't do it. Then the department was gutted. Half my hours are now in a department I find really difficult to work in, and I work more 5am starts than ever before, and make barely enough money to scrape by. If I go out for one meal now, my week's food budget is thrown into utter disarray and if I'm having a bad time like I have been and don't have it in me to cook, I can't afford to eat well while I pull myself out of it. If I don't eat well, I don't sleep well, and can't anyway because I work at stupid hours and my neighbour wakes me up if I try and sleep when I get home. Things that weren't so bad while I was with the ex, or during the period of sorting out the house have become markedly worse, so I have swapped one untenable situation for another.
I'm a bit hazy on what I can manage work-wise. I feel like I just need the downtime to recover, to start looking for work. I don't feel at all up to jumping through all the hoops with resumes and interviews and all the rejections one typically takes in a market with few jobs and many seekers, but as things stand I can't get the rest and the break from ongoing stress it takes to get the strength to do what I have to. My current problem to resolve is how to get better than an average of four hours' sleep a night so I can deal with things. There's a reason sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Doubly so if one is already depressed.
Okay, I understand now, what you are going through. One thing after another after another. I am truly sorry I cannot physically help you, snap fingers and presto. I understand about being in the right frame of mind to find work and deal with everything that surrounds it. It's a catch 22 isn't it? You want a job but you don't feel emotionally/mentally capable to find one, so you push it back a bit, waiting for the "right" time. You stew in that cycle. Like a loop on an algorithm without a time condition.
I think I told you that I recently found a job? 4 days into it and absolute decimation...on top of that trying to study after work and get up early to exercise. All of this, my psychiatrist tells me, well equate to a better headspace. My headspace has been stop and start because of my new meds, and if I plan my day out correctly I can get 8 hours of sleep, but...not counting for insomnia. You speak truth, sleep deprivation is torture.
I'm sorry I can't pull wisdom out from the air to help you along. You know your situation and from what it sounds like you are actively trying to counteract it. I know it may seem like someone picking you up from the edge of civilization, blindfolding you and dropping you in the middle of a forest, telling you to find your way back. You don't know how but at least you can take off the blindfold. I believe hope comes in when you keep thinking the just on the horizon, just few meters away, is where civilization is. You have mentioned that slowly, you are feeling better, so maybe, just a little bit longer?