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When all is lost....what can you do? Be radical?

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

I look back on my disruptive life and wonder ow I survived.  I joined the RAAF at 17 lasted till I was 20. By then I'd owned 20 cars on impulsive buying and the debts that went with them. Then a taxi driver, assembly line worker, cleaner, spare parts sales, prison officer and by 30yo I'd had about 50 jobs and 15 professions. I had no idea I wasnt well. Bipolar type 2, dysthymia anxiety and depression and I'm near certain ADHD had a lot of presence as well.

All of this came to a head in 1996 with a plan for suicide. But I survived it- I turned it around...how? A week later my wife and I separated. I fell into depression while living in a 3 metre caravan but survived....when I purchased a block of land and built my own house. And so the unsuspected routine kept going. Frankly I think two things saved me....a change of direction/interest and consideration for others in my life.

So lets put suicide aside.  You are depression or anxious, up and down mood or family and friends have abandoned you.  Whatever your crisis you are in despair, at the end of your tether and you dont have an answer.  Through default and luck I found the answers to my crisis each and every time it came about. What about you? What can YOU do to slip out of your situation and predicament? To do a u-turn with your life and save it.?

Let's look at what is at your disposal.  Environment- I knew a guy once, a railway worker that was heavily depressed. He lived alone. One day he didnt turn up for work. A fortnight later he rang me and told me he had taken a job as a jackaroo in Queensland.  A year later he rang me to tell me how happy he was. Just one example.  Friends and family- if they are causing you grief then take action. We are talking about your health here. In some cases - survival. Take time out or expel them from your life or somewhere in between. Work- chase another job. Social media- cut out the people you have never met.

I'm saying whatever it takes to allow your mind to be cared for, to rid it of negative forces and situations. I'm not saying it's easy, it isnt. There is a lot of fear out there among people to be radical but I'm suggesting that when there is no other option, that all reasonable options have been exhausted....its time to rethink the basics of your life. The alternative isnt an option, when remaining in your current situation is not healthy.

Perhaps others have more suggestions to avoid falling into the hollow well of hopelessness.

 

30 Replies 30

JessF
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello white knight, I have to say this could be the best thing I've read on this forum. You are so right, as much as some of us are more prone to depression and mental illness, it doesn't magically appear out of nowhere. There are many things in our environments that can contribute to a poor quality of life - be it bad relationships, bad jobs, broken families and friendships.  Some things we can change, and some we can't, and some of the things we THINK we can't change we actually CAN, but we are too afraid to, or it simply hasn't occurred to us an an option. 

I'm going to split the difference and say, haha, be conservatively radical!

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi JessF,   thanks for your reply.

Conservative radical?  wow.  Never thought of that. It's spot on. That's exactly where I was coming from. Sure, make the changes to preserve your life/lifestyle/family commitments as well as make the changes you need to kick start your mental state moving it forward.

Wishing Bb had a "like" button 🙂

Thankyou Jillcametumbling

I wonder what the effects of instinct has? We often tell each other- "go by your instincts".

But instincts can be blurred or they hit brick walls.  Procrastinating would likely be a brick wall.. Only add to the confusion I suspect.

As far back as 1980 when, after 3 years as a prison officer my instinct told me to get out of that job, that environment. Not for any other reason but inside I was a marshmellow that had no emotional protection. For this reason alone I was totally unsuitable.  For years I regretted not leaving earlier because by staying longer than desired I subjected my mind to a few terrible events.

Another example- My wife has a dear friend. This friend has many issues like myself but by no fault of her own when she visits and becomes teary eyed about her abusive past my instinct tells me to get up and walk outside the house to clear my head. I dont make this obvious to her etc but if I didnt do this I'd be heavily effected for some time.  It brings me down. Writing on this forum is a lot different. I cant stop when I like...I have some control.

If someone has a partner that is domineering, would that situation suppress ones instinct?  If they constantly wanted to get out of the relationship but felt mentally overpowered then this would be going against their instincts like going against a tide....could this lead to a worsening of a mental condition?

So many questions.  I'm wondering, in terms of taking radical steps to relieve a situation whether one should run with their instincts or leave it and swim against the tide for the rest of their days? Like living in hell and with fear.

For me, I ran with my instincts in nearly every situation that I faced and nearly all were correct decisions. They appeared to others to be radical, unwise, not thought out enough, knee jerking. But those people didnt have the bipolar, they werent with the anxiety and they werent ME.

Notice I said "to others". I often do that. Compare decisions I've made by instinct on what 'normal' people would think. If its one thing I've learned to do lately its to realise and accept that those with a mental illness are unique and not of the "inner popular core" in terms of toleration, behaviour, coping, emotion, reaction, communication etc and therefore are of the fringe of society, often bullied, discarded, ignored, ostracised, gossiped about, discriminated against etc.

Perhaps we should rely on our instincts more?

Struggler
Community Member
Hi White Knight

Excellent article!  Not sure about radical but your suggestions for dealing with an unhealthy situation is no doubt logical.

We have control in many situations.  For example, we can purge toxic people from our lives, especially if they are merely friends and I did that.  We can remove ourselves from an upsetting environment.  I walked out of dinner party once.

When it comes to our jobs that we rely on to feed our families and pay bills, it is not that simple.  We have to endure the toxic environment until we find another job to go to so we still have the roof over our head.  Unfortunately for me, I landed in toxic workplace after toxic workplace.  Was I incompetent? No.  Was I a trouble maker?  No. Was I lazy?  Certainly not.  Did I offend people? No again.  

I am 59 and dealing with the issue that I'll not have a proper job outside home again.  Fortunately for me, I can afford to live on my assets now if I also do some work at home business.  This is exactly what is happening with me now.  I am finding peace and my mental health improves because I am no longer subject to workplace bullying and discrimination.  Toxic work place is the only contributing factor to my depression and anxiety.  

So, yes, we can change our situation but it is not that straightforward sometimes.  I have only been able to do so now after so many years suffering.  

Struggler

HelenM
Community Member

Hi White Knight

I find your ideas really interesting. I have managed to get rid of some people from my life who I found bad for ,me. It took me a long time to realise that I have a right to do that. Finally in 2008 I left my job after bullying and a total lack of managers to understand my needs (they really couldn't get it). 

I like that you see 'normal' people as different. So often when I've said in desperation, I just want to be normal, Doctors and mental health care workers have said, What's normal or nobody's normal. Live in my head for a while and they'll know what normal isn't.

Helen

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi ladies,  thankyou for your replies.

"live in my head for a while and they'd see what normal isnt"..  Too right. I've observed people for a long time in my past 90 jobs (now retired). Some people never explode with rage, are the same demeanor every day guaranteed. I wouldnt know how that would feel except that it would be darn boring lol.

Yes struggler, the workplace, more than 50% are toxic and have some degree of  bullying. It can be the only destructive thing in your life and it can be enough to bring you down.  "The right" to make the decisions to walk away from a dinner party that has turned ugly towards you is something we learn...or suffer from the hands of the naive. Those that want a "one up" on you.

I've noticed on Facebook there are at times postings that include the words "crazy". I'm being a little sensitive here but society has a long long way to go. We mentally ill, beautiful people of the world are still pigeon holed, still categorised as being "not one of them".  It hurts. As much hurt as an African American called the "N" word and other examples.

This is where 'instinct' plays its part.  We have to abide by our immediate reaction or we take risks. Taking risks for some can bring with it many negative thoughts. Suicide is still largely an unknown commodity, what triggers it. 

Perhaps not acting on instinct is one on the list of triggers. Some people might subject themselves to ALL forms of abuse and not act upon them. Be the punching bag of all and sundry. I'm just wondering if these poor souls could have a chance of being saved by developing some defence strategies....by using their instincts.?

geoff
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

dear WK, forgive me for not replying to your post, because you have been through so much plus your experience in the field has taught you a great deal, and this includes your life experiences.

You pose a good rational when you say ' I found the answers to my crisis each and every time it came about' and also ' whether one should run with their instincts or leave it and swim against the tide for the rest of their day', this so true in hindsight but when we are struggling with our own depression, we don't have the capability to even fathom this rational, then we are sucked into believing that we will never get any better.

I am the same as Struggler fortunately I do have some assets that keep my going, as relying on centrelink, but then it's catch 22 with them. Geoff.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Geoff,

Yes, I'm aware that when we are in the depression 'zone' rational thought is not even ...well thought about because we havent the capacity to do so. This leads to the belief or even the conclusion that medication and therapy are the two things left that can be effective during these bouts.

I suppose instinct can be more effective when not in a depression period. To ward off potentially hurtful effects. The crystal ball we really dont have....could we develop one?  

I dont know.  We are creative but not fortune tellers.