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Forums / Welcome and orientation / Hi, I'm a newbie with lifelong GAD and depression

Topic: Hi, I'm a newbie with lifelong GAD and depression

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. Izzieste
    Izzieste avatar
    20 posts
    4 September 2020
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to this forum. I've been reading posts on here for a long time but haven't been game enough to register. It makes me sad to think so many people are struggling with mental health issues, but I hope everyone is managing somehow.

    I think I've had GAD and depression as long as I can remember. I can't remember ever being carefree and relaxed. My mental health issues seem to get progressively worse as I get older. I tried medication, counselling and psychologists several times in my twenties, but did not see any improvement. I tried to cope on my own throughout my thirties, but one major life event after another happened and I progressively deteriorated until I broke down. I started seeing a clinical psychologist at the time. I've had mental healthcare plans to help with the cost, but I'm finding 10 subsidised sessions per year is not enough to see any real improvement. I tend to have so much to discuss that I end up talking for most of the appointment, so there is very little time to really get into things.

    I don't think CBT or ACT are helping me at all. I know how to look at stuff from a more rational point of view, I know I can't control everything and have to accept some things and that I can only control how I react. But knowing it is not enough. My anxiety is so strong a few positive thoughts aren't going to make me feel better. Mindfulness and yoga drives me crazy too. I just can't get into either.

    I went back on medication. It took about 6 months to settle down and, while I don't seem to have proper panic attacks anymore, I am still very anxious and worry all the time. I've also had insomnia for years so I always feel exhausted.

    I live by myself and don't have family in this country. I work fulltime but spend most of my free time alone, including long weekends, birthdays and Christmas. I used to be more social but I started dreading catching up with people. It felt like a huge effort and I felt like there was no point catching up because the conversations were totally pointless and meaningless and the others just seemed to talk about themselves all the time.

    I wish I could be more easygoing and not worry so much.

    Izzie
    1 person found this helpful
  2. Emmen
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Emmen avatar
    388 posts
    7 September 2020 in reply to Izzieste

    Hello Izzie,

    Welcome to the forums.

    Having GAD and depression for as long as you've had it can feel very tiring and hopeless. I'm glad you've finally decided to share your thoughts with us.

    I see you have been on medication and have attended counselling. While you find that you are able to look at things more rationally, you still find it hard to control your anxious feelings. You've tried yoga and mindfulness but find that you cannot get into it. Do you know why that doesn't work for you? I'm asking because I wonder if there are other activities you can do to mimic the same calming effect. For instance, yoga doesn't work for me because I simply don't have the patience or energy to place a mat on the floor and hold positions. Mindfulness works because it only takes a few minutes of my time and I can do it without moving.

    You mentioned that you live by yourself and are socially isolated. Do you catch up with your family often via video calls, and do they know about your GAD and depression? It would be good to have their support as well. Despite what you say about not wanting to meet people, prolonged isolation can change a person in negative ways. I think it's something you have to do every once in a while, even if it means forcing yourself to get out and meet people. If you dislike them talking about themselves, what would you like them to talk about? Is there a way for you to lead the conversation in the direction you want?

    I hope to hear more from you. Do interact with our community members in their threads too. I hope you'll find comfort in being a part of our community.

    Take care,
    M

    1 person found this helpful
  3. tranzcrybe
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    tranzcrybe avatar
    619 posts
    7 September 2020 in reply to Izzieste

    Hi Izzieste,

    Glad you felt comfortable to make an appearance on the forums - reading is good, but you have made a significant step by reaching out.

    "I can't remember ever being carefree and relaxed" is an interesting observation. Would you reflect on this a little to either recall an occasion where you did, or, alternatively, first felt anxious about an experience you had?

    "I felt like there was no point catching up because the conversations were totally pointless and meaningless and the others just seemed to talk about themselves all the time" - time to find new friends...

    I hope you find some comfort and support here.

    Regards,

    t.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Wishes
    Wishes avatar
    30 posts
    7 September 2020 in reply to Izzieste
    Hey Izzie!

    You are pretty amazing to be able to portray such an open and insightful version of your life on the forums.

    I hear you, positive thoughts are definitely not enough to cover up years of anxiety and depression. Which is why I'd ask that you consider thinking about some practical changes you could make in your life.

    Especially in this time, perhaps inviting yourself into social situations that aren't as confronting could help. Maybe it would begin by interacting with some live-streamed videos on Youtube or Instagram or playing an online game (which may not seem like your thing, but it's a low-risk way to start experimenting with being social again).

    If video chatting or physically catching up seems like a world away, why not text a friend and start with the aim of asking one meaningful question (eg. do you feel like your life will have changed after COVID?).

    Even asking yourself what you typically enjoy doing on your own. Do you watch movies? Read? Exercise? Could you marry these hobbies with social interaction (eg. hosting a Netflix Party online, joining a Facebook book club, or joining a gym's club)? This may seem confronting, but you're already halfway there by showing your willingness to reach out on the forums!

    Really hoping something here strikes a cord or sparks some thought, I wish you the best!

    Best,

    Wishes
    1 person found this helpful
  5. Izzieste
    Izzieste avatar
    20 posts
    7 September 2020 in reply to Emmen

    @ Emmen: thank you for your kind reply. I find yoga boring and repetitive and not relaxing at all. Guided meditation works sometimes, but usually doesn't do much. I don't like discussing private stuff with others after being burned several times, which has contributed to my mental health issues. I have a lot of trust and self-esteem issues.

    For years I forced myself to go out and meet people and, although I met some interesting people, they’ve either met a partner, moved away, drifted away or I just didn’t enjoy hanging out with them. In my experience, many people talk about day to day stuff, like their partner, kids or job. Nobody wants to hear what a single person has to say because they assume single people don’t have anything to worry about. If I try and talk about interesting movies, books or anything like that, they usually joke and say only single people have time for those things.

    I’ve also met single people, but they all seemed focussed on meeting a partner, spending most of their free time on dating apps, trying to set up dates and, the minute they met someone, they disappeared. It's completely fine if that is what they want or need, but it makes it hard for me to find like-minded people.

    @Tranzcrybe: thank you for your kind reply. The earliest I can remember is being in kindy and feeling like nobody really liked me and wanted to get to know me, that I didn’t belong (like now). Even then I worried all the time. I don’t even know anymore how to meet genuine people. It seems to get harder as you get older.

    @Wishes: thank you for your kind reply. I really don’t feel up to doing anything social online either, it took a lot to register for this forum. I never comment or post on anything publicly. I just really do not like people at the moment, as horrible as it sounds. It’s costing me a lot of energy just to get through the day and I have nothing left to give at the end of the day.

    I'm worried it might get worse and there doesn’t seem to be a solution, so I don’t even know whether there is any point in continuing with the psychologist and medication. I am interested in a lot of things, but just don’t have the energy for any of them at the moment.

    At the end of the day, maybe it does come down to the basics...eat well, try to get enough sleep, don't let people get to you and so on, but it's always so much easier to say these things than to actively do them day after day when you have mental health issues.

  6. tranzcrybe
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    tranzcrybe avatar
    619 posts
    7 September 2020 in reply to Izzieste

    Hi Izzieste,

    I think you are representing yourself just fine right here, Iz, and you have provided an honest and open appraisal of your situation - well done!

    Kindy is the 'heirarchy' stage where everyone assumes their 'allocated' place - it's bizarre but is no more complex than stacking marbles in a jar. The pecking order is set (but never fixed) and the interactions you have through school reinforce/destabilise your self belief. I am so sorry you have suffered over the years, but, as demonstrated by your courage to post, you have been proactive in addressing your needs and asserting your right to be heard. This may be a sign of things to come...

    Thinking along the lines of Wishes, I would recommend a sporting or general interest hobby group. Engaging in a common interest/pursuit, takes away any perceived awkwardness over being 'sociable' - you are there primarily to participate; and that can lead you to feeling comfortable with those around you, and possibly developing closer friendships down the track.

    I believe you need some support base to feel good about yourself again, and to help you tap into the beautiful person within. You have much to offer and share with others.

    Regards,

    t.

  7. Wishes
    Wishes avatar
    30 posts
    8 September 2020 in reply to Izzieste

    Hey Izzieste!

    Just want to commend you reaching out and acknowledging that it has taken a bit to get there! Makes it even more admirable than it already was.

    I have to agree with @tranzcrybe, a support system is a really good move into seeing your beautiful self in the eyes of another! While we need to find these strongholds within ourselves primarily, trying to find someone for occasional reassurance is so worthwhile. Easier said than done though, it takes some awkward, messy, and hard moments, but that comes alongside the occasional win!

    However, I completely agree that sometimes we need to work up to that. The basics, as you said, are the foundation of every other interaction. Something that really helps me when I'm in a slump is setting something up to look forward to each day. Here are a few ideas:

    • Picking a movie for the end of the next day, pop some popcorn, and getting a facemask ready!
    • Buying an easy boxed baking set and some Coles decorations. It usually turns out HORRIBLE (for me), but that's half the fun! :')
    • Putting an album on I love, and just moving my body (not even dancing) to the tunes!
    • Deciding to just, dress up, for the heck of it! Who said you needed to go out to get fancy?

    Now, these suggestions can seem like more effort than they're worth, or just a little bit too far fetched! And you know what, sometimes I feel like setting myself mini 'missions' makes basic tasks a little bit more manageable. Such as ... "I have 5 minutes to go get myself a glass of water" or, "I need to move rooms in the next 10 minutes". If you don't achieve them, don't see it as a failure but as another opportunity to re-group!

    You've got this, I really believe in you.

    Best,
    Wishes

  8. Emmen
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Emmen avatar
    388 posts
    8 September 2020 in reply to Izzieste

    Hello Izzieste,

    Wishes and tranzcrybe have provided some useful suggestions. I love Wishes' suggestion to have something to look forward to - in fact, that's what got me through some down periods as well.

    I wonder if apart from guided meditation, you might benefit from calming activities like drawing. You can look up zentangles or mandala drawing. Both basically use repetitive shapes to create a larger intricate pattern and can be quite therapeutic, sort of like meditative drawing in a way.

    Your friends sound really unfair! I'm not single but I still love to talk about movies and books. I don't see what the correlation is between a person's interests and their relationship status at all! I hope you can get involved in some interest groups or join Facebook interest groups where you can find people interested in similar things as you. I personally love the latter since I can connect with more people. You deserve to be heard rather than to feel like you're on the side of people's conversations.

    You sound like a lovely person and I do hope some of the suggestions offered to you help. Do reach out if you need to talk more :)

    Warmly,
    M

    1 person found this helpful

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