Newbie needing direction.
I've suffered anxiety and PTSD on and off for a long time, and more recently, depression, which is quite severe at the moment. Which is why I am here. I am really struggling and the covid lockdowns and isolation really don't help.
Any advice on where to post and how to get the most from these forums will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Virtually the only times I have left my bedroom in the past five weeks is to get food. I have lost interest in everything. Even living, to an extent. I'm not in any pending danger of self harm or anything, but I am becoming concerned about the long term. I have a psych appointment next month but I feel I need someone to talk to in the mean time.
Welcome to the forums and thank you for sharing here. It’s so good that you made the brave and proactive step of reaching out to the forums.
It sounds like you’re doing it really tough right now, and you shouldn’t have to go through that on your own. It might be worth reaching out to your psychologist or GP and asking if they have anything available any sooner. We strongly encourage you to reach out to the Beyond Blue counsellors on 1300 22 4636, or via webchat or email here. They're really good to speak to about things like this, and they're non-judgmental, understanding and kind. Other options are Lifeline, on 13 11 14, or MensLine on 1300 78 99 78.
Thanks again for sharing here, it’s not easy to do, especially when you’re feeling like it’s against your programming. We’re really glad that you did, and we hope you can feel proud of yourself for the strength you show in reaching out.
Maybe you could let us know what you think might help, or how long you’ve been feeling this way? Our community members are kind and understanding, and we’re sure some of them will join us on this thread in not too long. Many will be able to relate to what you’re going through.
Regarding your last question Sophie_M, and without recounting my whole history, I'm really struggling right now with feelings of disempowerment.
I have recurrent history of ending up in situations where I feel I have little or no power over situations affecting my life. Starting from my earliest memories of a very violent and abusive alcoholic father who threatened my mother's life and my family unit on a nightly basis, to a very dysfunctional and devastating long term marriage to a borderline, Dengue fever left me reelling helplessly for almost four years with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The CFS eventually forced me into business closure and bankruptcy. Then a push bike accident which damaged nerves in my groin, which again took two or more years to diagnose, and successful treatment took years longer still. By now, I was divorced and a full-time single father of two teens. My (borderline/black-and-white-thinking) ex-wife wanted nothing to do with the children because she could not have sole custody. Her demand was that I never see my kids again because she believed that they loved me more than they loved her. Then came the first straw that broke the camel's back. I had a work related accident that tore the tendon in my right elbow from the bone. On its own, that doesn't sound catastrophic, but it turned out that the employer had never asked me to sign any employment forms when I started, so Zurich refused to pay workers comp. And Centrelink refused to pay social security because it was a work related injury. I was caught between a rock and a hard place, again. I was without any income for 10 months while pursuing compensation, first through WorkCover, and later through private legal action. In the mean time, I spent all my savings, maxed out all my credit, and was eventually evicted form my family home of nine years. I was no longer able to support or care for my children, who had to go live with their mum. I mean, that is a brief summary up till about 15 years ago.
About a year or so after this, I was diagnosed with PTSD. Everything, including my childhood, came back to haunt me.
I've had better times and worse times since then, but right now, I am extremely stuck. Traditionally, I tend to experience anxiety, rather than depression, but about a month to five weeks ago I sunk into a deep, deep depression that I have not been able to shake.
As mentioned above, I feel disempowered. Disempowerment. If I try to think about or plan for the future, I experience debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, etc. I can't breathe. I become nauseous. My back and my neck lock up from tension and I get headaches. I can hear and feel every heartbeat. Every pulsing of my arteries. I lock myself in my room for days on end, sometimes without eating at all. I don't open the door for anything. Such is my fear of being disempowered again.
So, not being able to think or plan ahead, means giving up on all my dreams and plans. Giving up on my future. I feel I am, and have, no value to anyone else. I'm stuck. With no future, I've slipped into depression. And I don't see a way forward just now. That's why I'm reaching out.
How do I turn all these defeats into empowerment?
I've lost faith.
How do I find faith again?
I'd like to welcome you here, it is a very different place to a crisis line, partly becuse everyone here has gone though hard times of one type or another, and that has promoted understanding, not being judgmental and also being realistic.
I guess the first thing to say is that seeking advice and assistance is not contrary to the 'strong male' philosophy. Quite the reverse, it demonstrates the ability to recognize a problem, and to take action to rectify the matter. Mature wisdom, not weakness.
Life has certainly handed you a huge load, some ill fortune and some by those who failed in their duties or to be reasonable.
You did have plans and ambitions, and the person inside you is much the same and would still have them. It is simply the distance is further -a discouraging turn of events.
I can sympathize with the PTSD, depression, anxiety and feelings of dis-empowerment -plus the physical reactions. I was invalided out of my career for the same types of illness. I can also see that staying in your room for days on end as being what seems the easiest course.
I guess going down the path to a better life is small steps -I'm sure you have heard that before. It means you judge yourself by your current circumstances, not by when you were well and everything was pretty much ok -which simply sets you up for feelings of failure.
So getting out of bed, having a wash or a shower, cleaning teeth, getting dressed - they are all victories. Seems silly but is true, and each one you do empowers you for the next, up to the laundry and cooking stage.
I used to be a speed-reader, devouring everything from novels to biographies and text books. After I became really bad understanding one line in an adolescent's fantasy book was a triumph.
Now I'm back to speed-reading ( I keep my state library busy with constant downloads ). Also lead a busy and responsible life, giving me satisfaction and a firm degree of self confidence.
This did not happen overnight, it took a long time wiht a series of excellent GPs and psychiatrists. I was lucky there.
If you are like me you simply will not be able to see a future to plan for at the moment. Believe me that will start to come as you improve.
Would you like to talk some more?