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Forums / Welcome and orientation / Back at the start again and reaching out

Topic: Back at the start again and reaching out

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. Jess_Mc
    Jess_Mc avatar
    7 posts
    1 June 2019

    I started seeing a therapist a few months ago to manage a bad period of anxiety which spiralled out of my control. She helped me through it and now I'm past that initial stage, now my immediate symptoms are back under control, I'm staring at the numb, meaningless void of depression. That's terrifying. I've made such an effort to function and now I might not for a while. I might fall over. And I'm so angry about that. There's an odd sense of sadness, too, that I might grow to hate my therapist. I like her. She's patient and warm and genuine and fosters such a wonderful sense of safety. But I don't want to talk to her. I don't want her to know what I think and why I think it. I don't want to shift that sensible, reliable, functional mask. It feels like it's all I have to stitch my life together and keep me going to work, walking my dogs, speaking to my friends and distracting myself from the pointless recycling of time that I feel my life has become. It's also a container. Some days it feels like my grim reality is a toxic sludge I don't want other people to have to think about. I like hiding it. I like knowing that the people around me are happy and comfortable because I can share in that comfort. If the people I love are happy then hiding all of this horrid crap inside my head is worth it. But it's so exhausting. And it leeches energy from all the other parts of my life. It's hard to keep up the front when the energy you need to build and maintain it keeps collapsing in on itself. Small setbacks become the emotional Himalayas. Even my stores of anger - a place of false control and a useful substitute for motivation when I can't muster any - are waning. I feel like a light bulb dimming in a dark room.

    My therapist suggested group therapy at the start and I so forcefully rejected it that I was surprised to discover how frightening I found the prospect. Reaching out here because it's anonymous and safe and hopefully I won't be quite so scared about sharing stuff if I can do it here. Small steps. I hate all of this. I hate it so much. But I don't feel quite so lonely after reading some of your posts today so thanks for being open and brave.

    3 people found this helpful
  2. Peppermintbach
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    Peppermintbach avatar
    4566 posts
    1 June 2019 in reply to Jess_Mc

    Hi,

    You kindly thanked the other lovely people on the forums for being so open and brave with their struggles and victories (and everything else in between). But I would like to thank you for also being one of those courageous people by sharing some of your experiences here :)

    I think you’re clearly self aware with great insight into your own thought process, including knowing why you behave as you do around others. In many ways, you’ve pretty much said it all yourself...

    The past month sounds very intense for you, and the spiralling anxiety must have been debilitating. I’m glad you’re managing it now, but the void sounds truly painful. In many ways, in my own way, I understand...

    Like so many other people here, I also find myself staring into that void. It can be pretty alarming at times, so sometimes I’ll try to ignore it by turning my back on it. Unsurprisingly, that never works for very long...

    I can also relate to your gruelling process of the daily grind, trying to be “functional,” honouring commitments, shielding the people you love from your inner demons (etcetera, etcetera), no matter how you feel on the inside. In my own ways, I think that I get a lot of what you’re saying...

    Again, good on you for taking a step forward by reaching out here. You’re most welcome to write any time here :) No pressure or rush of course, but if you want to write, we are here reading along and caring...

    Kind thoughts,

    Pepper

    2 people found this helpful
  3. therising
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    therising avatar
    2824 posts
    1 June 2019 in reply to Jess_Mc

    A warm welcome to you Jess

    Sorry to hear you're going through the truly horrible challenges that come with depression. I always feel an element of sorrow when someone is struggling in such a way, as I personally remember those days well and how incredibly soul-destroying they can feel.

    I hear what you're saying about group therapy. When group therapy was 1st proposed to me, I can remember thinking 'How could I possibly put myself out there in front of a bunch of complete strangers?' The idea was so far outside my comfort zone that I flat out refused, in the beginning. It was actually my mum who pushed and pushed me to go, she just wouldn't give up. I basically gave in so I could stop her harassing me. By the way seeing it was post natal depression group therapy, I'd also be admitting I was a 'failure' as a mum (not true of course).

    All the women in this group had surprisingly experienced long term depression, myself included (15 years of it). The things we had in common did not stop there. We came to express how 'normal' and accepted we all felt while we were together and how much we looked forward to meeting up with each other for the sessions. Strange but we even found ourselves laughing together over certain things that would have normally had us crying alone. We could relate to each other. And as the facilitator asked us to express our typical feelings, so she could write them up on a whiteboard, they became a list of words we could all identify with: Anger, sadness, hopelessness, the almost obsessive need for control, fatigue, lack of motivation, resentment and the list went on. I believe it was this list, in part, that led me out of depression. I remember staring at it thinking 'Oh my god, if we're all experiencing this then this is not me!' I know that may sound a bit weird but for years I'd been identifying myself through these traits. They were not my traits, they were the traits of depression itself. Once I began to set myself free from this identify, I became free to identify how my path into depression came to be, what led me there. This is pretty much a nutshell version of what took place over a number of weeks.

    So, one of the most initially uncomfortable, stressful outside the square forms of therapy actually led me out of my 15 year battle. Never in a million years would I have picked this as holding the key. This may not be everyone's cup of tea but my advice would be...it can't hurt to 'take a sip'. You just never know.

    Take care Jess

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Jess_Mc
    Jess_Mc avatar
    7 posts
    1 June 2019 in reply to Peppermintbach
    Thank you for your lovely words. Reading your response last night had such an unexpectedly calming effect. It’s very alien for me to talk about any of these feelings so all of this is so new. I can already feel a bit of the fear of the unknown sliding off. And although the next little while isn’t going to be fun, it’s a relief to read that it will probably be ok because I’m not the first, or the last, to travel here.
    2 people found this helpful
  5. Jess_Mc
    Jess_Mc avatar
    7 posts
    1 June 2019 in reply to therising
    Thanks Rising. I don’t think I’d really ever made the distinction between what is depression and what is me... that is definitely something to think about. I’m glad to hear your group sessions helped so much. I think, perhaps, I’m not quite there yet but it’s heartening to hear the success of someone who was just as worried as I am.
    1 person found this helpful
  6. Peppermintbach
    Valued Contributor
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    Peppermintbach avatar
    4566 posts
    2 June 2019 in reply to Jess_Mc

    Hi Jess,

    It’s absolutely wonderful to hear from you again. I’m happy to hear that you felt comforted and a little relieved. I’m also glad therising has thoughtfully shared her perspective as well :)

    I tend to feel that opening up/sharing feelings can be a very daunting experience. So I think it’s understandable (and very relatable) about how this all feels alien to you.

    I feel it’s admirable how you’ve obviously started taking steps, so I suppose it’s just about continuing to move forward, but at your own pace (i.e. a pace that you personally feel comfortable with). Pausing, resting and even back-tracking is okay too...

    Is it alright if I ask how have you been feeling since your latest posts?

    Kind and caring thoughts,

    Pepper

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Jess_Mc
    Jess_Mc avatar
    7 posts
    3 June 2019 in reply to Peppermintbach

    Thanks Pepper. Bit rotten for the moment but there’s a lot less anxiety and I think this forum is responsible for a lot of that. It’s very comforting to know I can pop back here and read a few posts and know that there are people working through the same sorts of things right now too. It helps create some compassion for myself.

    I’ve been working a lot lately and the nature of my job is that I can pick up a lot of overtime if I’m willing and I’ve been very willing lately. Had to lie and say I had a stomach bug to avoid shifts today and tomorrow as my dogs have vet appointments and I also need to have a bit of quiet time for occasionally crying and feeling miserable without the need to hide it so much. I’m annoyed that I can’t be honest about why I don’t want to work, and anxious about being annoyed. It’s such an absurd little cycle haha. Trying to be generous and compassionate for myself and not beat myself up about it. It’s a fine line to walk between distracting myself and denying myself. So I’ll just potter around and do what I need to do.

    Thanks again for checking in Pepper. Hope you’re having a good day :)

    2 people found this helpful
  8. Peppermintbach
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Peppermintbach avatar
    4566 posts
    5 June 2019 in reply to Jess_Mc

    Hi Jess (and a wave to all),

    It sounds like you have been struggling again. That’s awful, but I’m glad the forums are helping you feel a little less alone, and offering some small comfort to you. I think it’s particularly beautiful how it’s helping you be more self compassionate...

    Work seems very hectic for you. Definitely a lot going on there. I can relate to the work stress. To be fair, I think a lot of people chuck a sickie from time to time, so you’re definitely not the only one. I’ve done it before (as do most people I know)...

    I think sometimes life just happens, and if we know work won’t be understanding about our other commitments/stresses/mental health/etc. Then many of us just end up calling in with all kinds of “ailments” from your “stomach bug” to various colds and flus...

    Your cycle does sound very frustrating and exhausting. But I’m glad you’re continuing to be kind to yourself...

    It’s good to talk to you...no pressure of course, but write in any time you like if it helps...

    Kind and caring thoughts,

    Pepper

    1 person found this helpful

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