O Come All Ye Faithful

I saw this quote earlier today and realised I have been thinking pretty much the same for quite some time now. Years in fact, especially when my elderly mother was dying slowly. Its not always going back to bed I crave as I wake early almost every day and can’t sleep again but I often wait all day for night to come when I can drink as I have been drinking almost every evening for some time now.  I often wake up in the night after more bad dreams and wish I would die. And no I dont want to come back again to confront my problems like some hideous nightmare as some people believe. This is how depression makes you feel and yet the self help sites are full of absolutely unbelievably shit motivational tips and quotes.  Get up early and do stuff! Yes more housework is going to make a lot of difference! See your friends! See my other 500 posts on social anxiety an lack of any friends.  My depression is not caused by chemical imbalance so cant be cured by pills. There never was a normal life to go back to.

I again look at the only meetup group in my city which I could attend which is for photography and imagine how to make small talk,having to explain being unemployed for YEARS and YEARS, not being in a relationship and never having had one even though I am over 40, having absolutely no family or friends and apart from photography having nothing to speak about at all. This is even without my awkwardness, social anxiety and depression for them to deal with so the idea of just meeting a bunch of strangers to make you feel better is complete bollocks and shows how bad the advice is.  If the advice is to avoid negative people then they would avoid me so what do you do if you are the negative one? Drink?  Such meets demand enthusiasm, friendliness and social skills to even start with and I have none. Why is there never any advice whatsoever to even get to the level of meeting people? Is it because there is none? When you are so far down mentally and physically and have no support then death is the only result, the inevitable conclusion? I have certainly seen no help for my problems by looking at CBT and therapy. Some even think exercise cures you of depression!

I think Christmas is making things worse again. Today has been awful with wave after wave of depression and misery and feelings of wanting to die. Taking a shower, going for a walk and dong some gardening or housework(the usual shit advice for depression) are about as effective as putting a small bandage on an freshly amputated leg. Little helps if you are this lonely, depressed and your life is a complete mess and has been for decades. Your personality has changed beyond recognition and as nobody wants you then you stay alone and never get better. I did not have a wife, partner, kids or family to begin with so can’t get help from them.I see the end of another year when nothing has changed in the slightest and I still see absolutely no way out or escape whatsoever other than death.  The prospect of applying for a job I could get, do and which I would not hate is as achievable as being told to chat up and marry a supermodel after being a lifelong dateless virgin.  I came close to self harming again earlier but must get past Christmas first.  All this negative shit and I have not even drunk anything yet. Better start now.

 

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Guest Post: Depression Success Story

And now for something completely different as Monty Python used to say.  This is a guest post about depression from Mollie @ mollieplayer.com

Depression Success Story: “My Daily Recipe for Staying Mostly Depression-Free”

*/Contributor: Mollie Player, who shares depression success stories and spiritual practice success stories at mollieplayer.com. /*/
/
So, let’s be real: There’s no cure for depression. At least not one that works for everyone. Medication works a bit, and exercise helps a ton. But none of these things–even lots of meditation–won’t get you all the way.

However, in my experience, there are cures (note the plural): complex, sometimes time-consuming combinations of factors that can work together and give you relief.

Here’s my depression success story and the particular combination of coping mechanisms that work best for me.

Once upon a time, I was four years old. And even then, I was the serious girl. Nothing wrong with that–my mom called me “sensitive” and my dad said I had a “cute, worried expression.” But right before their eyes, and without any of us knowing it, I started, slowly, to withdraw. In the second grade my best friend moved away, and I had very few others as backups. I became shyer and shyer till, caught in the coming-of-age pre-junior high school years (fifth and sixth grades), I was really suffering. I hated how I looked. I had no close friends. At recess I hid in the bathroom or under the schoolyard stairs. I didn’t want anyone to see me sitting alone, but I didn’t want to talk to anyone and face rejection.

In Junior High School, I realized I had a problem. It wasn’t their fault that I was shy; it was mine. I went to a new school, made the same mistakes, and the outcome was the same, too. In the eighth grade, I hid in the bathroom every day, and though I made a few friends, they weren’t close. One day I read an article in my aspirational reading of choice–Seventeen magazine–about a girl who realized she had depression. She said that she figured it out after while riding a city bus, she burst into tears for no reason.

That’s ridiculous, I thought. I do that all the time. It sounds pretty normal to me.

But the thought sunk in, and soon after that, I realized I was depressed, too.

My first attempt at overcoming depression was a spiritual one. As a fundamentalist Christian, I knew the answer to all pain, all difficulties was faith. I also knew that I wouldn’t feel better until I got on the right path, and stayed there. If I only prayed enough, read the Bible enough – really committed to God – I would feel the love and job of knowing him. And the depression would be gone.

The plan didn’t succeed.

High school passed in perfectionistic frustration. Then college, then a few lovely years after graduation. My determined mindset helped me get rid of my shyness completely, and pursue a few other goals successfully. I got a job I love–waitressing–as well as a college degree and a house. And I started liking myself a lot more–even how I looked. I gained confidence, but my ultimate goal still eluded me–that of fully overcoming depression.

I still haven’t fully overcome it.

And yet, I have overcome a lot of it. Most of it, in fact. And I did it in two major ways. First, I dealt with the basics: I got a job, independence, a few friendships, a place to live. After that, I started refining my methods.

Here is my daily recipe for my mostly happy, sometimes joyful, and always deeply grateful state of mind.
•I exercise most days for at least forty minutes. Sometimes, I exaggerate. Like the other week when I told my friend exercise is a cure for depression. It’s not. And yet, it sort of is. Because without my long walks, I’m not sure I’d be able to stay mentally healthy. For me, this is the absolute number one technique I recommend to overcome depression–even more so than spiritual practice. My personal habit is to take long walks with my kids. I often carry the baby and push the two-year-old on the stroller while my five-year old follows on his bicycle.
•I get outside for at least an hour most days. Rain or shine, outside time is a must. I feel better almost as soon as I step out onto the porch. I take the kids to the park or we walk to the store or to a play area. In fact, I almost never drive a car, even though I have one.
•I meditate briefly each day and pursue other spiritual practices. My meditation practice consists of repeating a loving mantra several times for several minutes, or just allowing myself to sit still and notice the thoughts that come, then refocus on my “inner body”–the sensations I feel in my hands and feet and breath. I also try to consult my inner guidance on a daily, sometimes hour by hour basis as I consider what to do next, or what decision to make. This helps me greatly. Finally, when a thought comes that is particularly stressful, I journal it, Byron Katie-style. For more information on all of my spiritual practices, see my Spiritual Practice Success Stories and Depression Success Stories on mollieplayer.com.)
•I limit my junk food intake. Healthy food tastes good, too. It really does. I don’t limit fat and I focus on protein and vegetables. (I allow myself a few treats, too.)
•I have hobbies I truly love: reading, writing, and gardening. The value of having at least one endless project cannot be overstated. I love feeling productive, and all three of these hobbies feels valuable and fun. I get the pleasure of the activity itself, plus the knowledge that I’m doing something worthwhile. If you don’t have a job, at least get a difficult, long-term, highly involved hobby.
•I keep my house clean. For me, cleaning is relaxing. It gives me a sense of control and order. I love home organization, too.
•I only wear clothes that feel good on my body and that I feel I look good in. This is huge, and took me a long time to learn. I hardly ever wear those “cute” clothes that other people say look good on me. I wear a uniform every day: black pants, a crisp T-shirt and maybe a sweater.
•I keep my weight down. For me, feeling bloated causes anxiety. Though I don’t necessarily think extra weight looks bad on other people, I choose to do what it takes to keep my weight down (i.e. diet). For me, the tradeoff is worth it.
•I take medication. Does it work? Yeah, a little. This is especially important and helpful in the winter.
•I work hard. I stay busy. Staying busy is huge. Huge! The days fly by, and in the evening you can look forward to a TV show or a good book knowing that you did your work for the day already.
•I do work I love, namely, writing and being a mom. For people with depression, work enjoyment is even more important than for others. I don’t make a ton of money, but I wouldn’t trade my work lifestyle for anything.
•I spend time with good friends several time per week. Ah, friendship. This is a hard one for me. I’m a busy mom, after all. But I fold my friendship time into my mom time with lots of play dates, and once a month we have family friends over for dinner. Such an uplifting experience.
•I don’t overschedule my days. I try to take things at my own pace, and the pace of good parenting. If you are prone to anger or anxiety, overscheduling is a huge problem. Though I love to keep busy, I choose projects that I can do at my own pace and on my own schedule. I only schedule one outing per day with the kids, and I make it a life rule to rarely leave the house in the evening. (Family time!)
•I try not to yell at anyone. Conflict is such an emotional drain. Most of my relationship difficulties are handled in a calm, low-key manner. I just hate being in a fight.
•I prioritize sleep. I don’t have a TV or computer addiction. In fact, addictions of all kinds scare me. I watch TV a few times a week, and go to bed at the same time my kids do. For alone time, I get a babysitter three times per week.
•I try to do all the little “shoulds” we all have for ourselves, while also trying not to do too much. It is a balance. Such a tricky, precarious balance. But I’ve found that for me, there’s no way around it.

So, the list is long, I know. Maybe even a bit intimidating. Depression is such a huge, demanding thing.

There are no easy answers. But there are answers. And hey–that’s better than nothing.

Besides, all this self-improvement stuff? It doesn’t just keep my depression at bay. It makes me a better person, too. Most of it is stuff even someone who doesn’t have depression would benefit from. The main difference is that I feel I have no choice. Drop the ball on any two of these, and rough days are ahead. It’s not a self-pity thing; it’s just true.

I do remain hopeful that one day, my depression will be healed entirely. It happened to my dad and many others. Either way, I (mostly) accept myself right where I’m at. This is my life, and it’s a good one.

I’m blessed.

Mollie

*P.S. For more depression success stories, see mollieplayer.com*

Do shy people make normal people feel uncomfortable?

 https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuNPTxOIIAIvzf_.jpg
“I’m not sure shy people realise sometimes how inadvertently uncomfortable they can make non-shy people,”
This is an interesting quote from the social anxiety forum especially as I was VERY aware of how uncomfortable I made others feel especially females which is why I never ever tried to chat one up!  Its true though! In fact its f**king obvious! Very shy people make normals very uncomfortable so they dislike and avoid us making it much harder to fit in and ever be accepted into society. They guilt trip us for not doing enough and then ignore that people hate us for acting shy when we do try!
My reply was;
 Really, I thought this was the problem with shy people as we are too worried what others think of us all the time and how we make others feel. I felt very disliked at work for being shy and making other people uncomfortable which is why I could never even try and chat a girl up and partly why I have not been to any meets especially anxiety meets plus I am now a similar age to you and so too old. There was a new SA meetup group in my city a few weeks ago but despite 50 members it closed down already due to lack of interest!

By contrast all the self help books and sites I have looked at in the last year seem to imply that this is maladaptive thinking, most people dont even notice our behaviour and its not really important and that we should just keep trying. This is obviously lies as people are very judgmental in my experience did notice everything especially as when I was in my twenties I used to blush and stammer and sweat uncontrollably which made people very uncomfortable and so has taken away all confidence in CBT or that therapists have any idea what they are talking about.

I am not expecting a sensible reply or debate though. All my past experience of SAUK tells me that people love to argue, call you names, belittle you and generally think they are superior. Good God that’s the reason why so many people are shy in the first place as they had parents and other people treat them this way in their upbringing.  Then they just copy the behaviour and treat others this way!

 

Effective Treatment for depression and anxiety?

Is there really any effective treatment for depression and social anxiety or is it all mostly a load of old crap and just a scam to keep therapists in work? If you exclude medication I can find no advice or help whatsoever that has had any effect or given me any motivation or hope at all. Perhaps its pretty much incurable past a certain age with some people and in certain circumstances. After all most help for depression assumes you  have good family or friends and most help for social anxiety assumes you are brimming with enthusiasm and positivity.

It assumes so much and offers so little. All books and self help sites only make me more depressed as their advice is absolutely shit and bares no relation with my reality and life experiences at all. As mentioned in my previous post people are highly judgemental and many ridicule us so its not all maladaptive thinking.  For social anxiety they advise you start with easy situations but I cant find any, at all. None.  Certainly not that I a prepared to do for prolonged periods of time and every day for months even if it makes me extremely humiliated and ashamed and gets me ridiculed. You see that will almost certainly make me worse and suicidal as I wont get better as I wont make witty banter under stressful situations and people will mock me and dislike me.

Thats because if you act very shy people think you are weird,strange mental and never want to see you again. Fact.  I still cant get over the advice of a man my age(OVER 40!) going up to strangers on the street, in elevators and supermarkets and awkwardly speaking some shit about the weather and claiming that people especially woman will love me approaching them and making awkward small talk awkwardly like a shy awkward person with no confidence.  Did I mention I am awkward? Only a complete twat would advice this as a simple thing to cure for social anxiety. Its absolutely destined to fail and then reaffirms all negative beliefs making me EVEN MORE AVOIDANT!

Its not easy to hear but I think for many people with depression and anxiety there is no effective help whatsoever and you will never fully recover. You will either have to learn to live with it and get any shit job you can manage like I did for 20 years at minimum wage eve though I was in the top 10% of my school or even worse.  The NHS as far as I can tell is in complete collapse with mental health ignored and has many therapists who are useless. The advice simply doesn’t work and completely ignores the persons personal circumstances. For instance many social anxiety self help sites just assume you must have one good friend to go and do things with or a valued family member who you can rely on. Many dont. Just like I cant get any sleep or even try to meditate or relax because of NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! all day, every day. Sometimes at 2 AM and sometimes again at 7 AM and all day. So I would have to move house and first get £150,000 from nowhere.

Lifestyle changes to treat depression

1.Exercise. Regular exercise can be as effective at treating depression as medication.

Not really. It helps to sometime go for a walk but most walks in my city have little of no effect whatsoever, often making me feel worse. I cant afford a gym and being a 45+ year old male loner would not feel comfortable on my own in the gym anyway.

2.Social support. Strong social networks reduce isolation, a key risk factor for depression.

Well there’s your problem, having social anxiety and being a loner I only have one friend who I see only several times a year and never speak to anyone else for 47 weeks of the year.

3. Nutrition. Eating well is important for both your physical and mental health.

I have eaten more fruit and veg. Effect;none whatsoever, I regularly feel hopeless, insomnia has returned and I am desperate and often feel like committing suicide. F**K spinach. All it does is make me go for a crap at 1AM.

4. Sleep. Sleep has a strong effect on mood. When you don’t get enough sleep, your depression symptoms will be worse. Sleep deprivation exacerbates irritability, moodiness, sadness, and fatigue.

Yes, this is very true. I woke early again today and feel terrible again. Unfortunately what they never tell you is if you live in a bad environment or have noisy neighbours there is absolutely no choice whatsoever. Ear plugs are useless for thudding noises. If we could all live in a quiet country mansion we would.

5.Stress reduction. Make changes in your life to help manage and reduce stress. Too much stress exacerbates depression and puts you at risk for future depression.

How? Being avoidant reduces stress and yet you are told to not be avoidant.I feel stressed all day even without a job. Imagine if I was being bullied by the job centre and threatened with homelessness as well for not looking for work hard enough. Social anxiety is the cause of everything but I cant get rid of that without getting rid of depression. How do I get rid of social anxiety when I have no motivation, suicidal tendencies, anger issues, fear of intimacy and paranoia?

Help for social anxiety is even worse because as mentioned previously most CBT for social anxiety assumes you are already highly  motivated, enthusiastic, have no depression, have no paranoia and that you always burst into  witty banter in a great voice with no blushing, stammering or sweating and no awkwardness at all and people love anything you say, never ridicule you or avoid you. Oh and that you are under 30 as nobody still has social anxiety past 30 and of course they assume you are attractive too or looks dont matter. Funny so many shy and nerdy people look like Mr Bean then.

 

 

Into the Great Wide Open

Thinking about your problems can make you even more stressed so I think its good to completely zone out and do other things for a while rather than obsess about mental health. or is doing other things merely avoidance? For instance every time I look at self help for anxiety and depression it makes me much more depressed and more anxious!  Yes sometimes avoidance is good, isn’t that what most relaxation techniques really are? So walking in nature is one escape and so is photography, even indoors. On Friday I spent some time just trying to get pictures of the numerous apples which have fallen off the tree I planted over 20 years ago in the back garden.

Macro photography is harder than it looks. You need a good clear background, preferably dark. You then need to have the right lens so you can get close enough and since it only focuses on one spot of the subject you need to take several photos and merge them together. I dont have a macro lens so this is the best I could get and you can see that its already beginning to lose focus and detail as I get closer. Pro photographers often take hundreds of shots in every possible setting and use only the best or merge them together with software.

I also went back over the thousands of pictures I have taken over the last 12 years or so. Sometimes they make me feel happy and bring back good memories and other times I feel sad as they remind me of the turmoil of the time or that I may not go back to many of these places again. This stag from two years ago was completely ruined before as there were other deer in the background but using software I have managed to remove most traces of them if you dont look too close.

In other news I previous mentioned my dizzy spells which had completely gone for the last few weeks. This morning I actually felt dizzy again and passed out when I got up to go to the toilet and hurt my arm. I still wonder if its something to do with my allergy tablets which I have to take almost daily. A normal person would probably go to the doctors but I am I normal? The ForK I am.

Guilt

  1. They make you feel guilty for being single as if you are committing some kind of  crime,like you dont feel bad enough anyway for being alone your whole life and never having any kind of relationship at all despite all the biggest bastards from school and work are on Facebook smiling with their wife and kids like happy families. F**k Karma!
  2.  They make you feel guilty for being unemployed as if you are just lazy or some kind of scrounger and ignore that being mentally ill means that most employers wont hire you anyway because of their prejudices and when they see the HUGE unemployment gap on your CV throw it straight in the bin!
  3. They make you feel guilty for not doing the HARD WORK to get over your social anxiety and ignore that when you go out and try anything at all and still act shy or awkward most people treat you like a dumb fuckwit and never want to see you again which sort of knocks your confidence and makes you even worse. Thats because even most normal people are MASSIVELY JUDGEMENTAL!
  4. They make you feel guilty for being miserable or depressed when every day has been awful for years(trying cleaning up the shit from your dying elderly mother as you slowly watch her fade away!) and you have thought about ending your life on several occasions and still they have never given you any hope whatsoever.  Apparently some guy my age once had it much worse and still did good so I should be positive too! Yay! Why not talk about survivors from Auschwitz as well, that’ll make me feel less guilty!
  5. They make you feel guilty for having mental health problems in the first place as if you chose to be this way when almost everyone with mental health problems had bad parenting or traumatic events growing up which caused it.
  6. They say being guilty is bad for you and tell you to stop it. They also wonder why you are so bitter and twisted.
  7. They tell you to go and get help as there is LOADS of help out there even though in reality there is a 6-12 month waiting list on the NHS for any kind of therapy and many NHS therapist are complete twats. And then when you actually go to therapy they demand you must be motivated and enthusiastic in the first place or they dont want you!

 

 

Friday Afternoon Ramblings

I forced myself to go on another walk yesterday afternoon as the sun came out and it was a fine autumn day. I did not feel so good this time as I got quite agitated and started talking to myself again. Is a lot of mental thought just a bad habit? Is self talk and criticism inevitable if you see no way out or future and all therapy a pile of delusional shit? You see I have been going on similar walks for over 10 years and despite the vast majority of time nothing bad happens I never habituate or get used to going the same places and I never relax and I seldom if ever enjoy. In fact all my most memorable walks appear to be when there were no people around. Perhaps I am allergic to them.

Is depression even curable if the reason due to real problems like severe anxiety and the prospect of being homeless or dead? The future gone and a family life now impossible despite almost all therapy and self help books seeming to believe that everyone reading them is 23 and you still have the rest of your life ahead of you.

Can social anxiety even be cured if depression has taken such effect that you are now unmotivated and so far down the hole that only a miracle can save you? if I go to a  meet wont they think me a miserable so and so and quiet and boring and hard work like so many before them and then not want to see me again making me even more close to the edge? How can you demand people go to every social event and then assume they will be friendly and sociable when they in reality depressed and socially inept? Where does pleasant conversation come from when you have no job, no family and spend most days at home thinking of the end? Do I just drink alcohol before meeting new people and hope for the best? Why is advice for socially anxiety absolutely shit?

Even looking back at some of my old posts I see the people who used to comment regularly all left and never returned because they were sick of my negativity. Thats the reality of being depressed. Other people cant handle it and demand you are happy to please them. Some actually had the nerve to get angry with me because they couldn’t bully positivity into me. “I cant believe this depressed life long virgin and totally isolated, been unemployed for years, hasn’t changed years of negativity overnight because of a few comments I sent him on WordPress! Some people are SO ungrateful! He should go out and speak to strangers. That’ll cure him!”

This is not really happening, not happening at all.

You bet your life it is.