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Forums / Welcome and orientation / Just getting my mind/thoughts out there.

Topic: Just getting my mind/thoughts out there.

15 posts, 0 answered
  1. jegssie
    jegssie avatar
    8 posts
    12 December 2021

    Hi all.

    First time poster and something I'd never thought I'd have to do at my age (48), but mental health never takes a break. If nothing else, this will help me get some thoughts out there.

    This last week has been fairly bad with regards depression. I've sort of managed to keep it at bay over the last 15-20 years (when i was last diagnosed) cause to excess work, however something snapped in me since this last lockdown ended (in Vic) and i've struggled to get a handle on it. I know that i can push the depression away eventually, but it's never a pleasant experience to have to deal with. And pushing the depression away doesn't solve my underlying issues.

    I live in a remote-ish area so not really had a chance to make friends out here. I've been here 11 years, but as always, i've always found it hard to make friends, even as a kid. I'm a natural loner. Generally as I had my work to keep my mind occupied, i never really noticed this problem. Additionally working in the office with others workers pre-Covid, i was able to ignored the issue. But even with lockdown ending, i still can't go back to the office, probably on a permanent basis.

    i got diagnosed with depression around 30yo by my psychiatrist. I only focused on the depression, however he did elude to the probability i had anxiety and possibly other things, but i brushed it off (i aint the quickest tool in the shed to put two and two together). It is only now that I've realised i never actually dealt with the anxiety/panic attacks, and now for some reason it's all come back to my mind and pushed me down a dark rabbit hole. Along with the loneliness and isolation, it has come as a punch in the stomach and i am struggling. My mind has been racing with 100s of thoughts ... and it wont keep quiet!!

    I will go back and get professional help, but with x-mas coming, it will take time to find somebody out my way. I thought i'd just put my thoughts here as a start to try and get my mind sorted somehow.

  2. Banksy92
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    12 December 2021 in reply to jegssie

    Hi jegssie,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for sharing your story. This is a really positive and safe community and we are all here to try and help each other.

    So sorry to hear you've struggled with depression, anxiety and isolation all these years. You are certainly not alone in this, as many people (including myself) have been challenged in this way by lockdowns and restrictions.

    I think it's great you're aiming to revisit professional help, as I think this would be a really great support for you. In the meantime, if there is a wait, please also keep in mind you can ring Beyond Blue's free hotline for immediate support 24/7 by calling 1300 22 4636.

    Do you have any family or close friends at all you can reach out to? I know you said you feel isolated, but even by phone or online do you have anyone in your network to reach out to?

    I also wanted to mention that if you are suffering from panic attacks or anxiety you may like to try practicing some calming breathing techniques. If I am highly stressed I sit in a quiet room with a timer on for 10 minutes and close my eyes. I focus on breathing in slowly to a count of 5 and out for a count of 6. Is this something you might try?

    Let us know how you're getting on.

  3. Learn to Fly
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    12 December 2021 in reply to jegssie

    Hi jegssie

    Great work on deciding to give it a go and writing your thoughts and experience here. It takes a lot of courage to take this first step, so really well done.
    I am really sorry to hear about the struggle you have been going through for so many years. Sometimes it seems to be easier to “brush it off” as you had mentioned and “sweep it under the carpet” rather than face some facts. Or even stop and think that one might be living in a closely knit relationship with the other. You are not the first one to follow this path and not the last one. For various reasons sometimes it just happens.
    What is more important is the fact that now you do have a realisation of a number of things that are happening with you and to you. Identification is a great step forward as it eventually leads towards tackling all of these dark friends of ours.
    Hang in there, it’s great that you have reached out here for some support because you will certainly get some. You are not alone here.

  4. jegssie
    jegssie avatar
    8 posts
    12 December 2021 in reply to Banksy92

    Hi Banksy92. Thank you for your kind comments.

    In short i no longer have family i can go to or reply upon, and my network of friends that I'd built up directly after my last diagnosis/recovery period 20 years back have all vanished - a lot of them falling off social media for one reason or another. When i was searching my Facebook feed the other day looking for an old friend to chat to, those that i used to rely upon have all vanished. This part did hurt a fair bit, but my fault there i guess. I'm rotten at keeping up with friends.

    I did contact one friend today, who've I've known for around 25 years, and she's been a support all these years. So i'm catching up with her during this week. But as a lovely a person she is and i really do enjoy her company, i do sometimes feel not 100%, like it was a temporary good feel thing. Not sure i can explain it properly here.

    I know what you mean about breathing techniques to try and calm the panic, I have tried this in the past, but not highly successfully - it generally only happens when I'm alone and feel I wont be caught. It happens a lot. I generally can't tell when they come on until I've come out the far end, by which point its too late.

  5. jegssie
    jegssie avatar
    8 posts
    12 December 2021 in reply to Learn to Fly

    Thanking you kindly LearntoFly.

    I'm the master of sweeping stuff under the carpet. It's why I've never actually dealt with a lot of this in the past... "She'll be right!!!" Stubborn to the nth degree.

    The other bad thing is now that for WHATEVER reason my brain has decided to realise all of this, i look back at what i had achieved in the last 15-20 years and realise what I've now lost - socially wise.

    Not enjoying this feeling a great deal. Very sad.

  6. geoff
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    12 December 2021 in reply to jegssie

    Hello Jegssie, I'm not a doctor, but sometimes when we suffer from depression, anxiety is present but it may be overshadowed by our depressed state.

    I wonder whether you sit down thinking of all the possibilities that you think could happen but dismiss them for various reasons, that's anxiety developing, as well as vice versa, they go hand in hand, sometimes one may be more prominent than the other, but that's not for me to determine.

    It is possible to push depression aside, especially when you go to work or pretend to others that there is nothing wrong with you, but it only takes a trigger to rejuvenate it again.

    If you want to open some of your thoughts on here then please do, there will be others who can relate to exactly what you've said.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

  7. Banksy92
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    13 December 2021 in reply to Banksy92

    Hi Jegssie,

    I think I know what you mean, anxiety and panic can come on in unexpected ways, making it hard for us to consciously use tools and strategies to cope in the moment. Something I've learned, is that preventive habits are a good way to keep things at bay. So taking time out to breathe/meditate each day (even if you feel fine) can lower our overall stress levels and reduce chances of panic attacks as well.

    Similarly, lifestyle choices like good sleep and regular exercise can be great steps to boost our mood and manage mental health symptoms.

    It's good to hear there was someone you could reach out to and were able to connect with. Even if it doesn't feel 100%, I think it's good to try and hold on to these people. I don't know the full story, but do keep in mind if you may grow to feel better about this relationship if you can reduce your depression and anxiety symptoms.

    Have you considered reaching out to work colleagues for a catch up? Others may also be feeling isolated if remote work is here to stay...

    Just some ideas.

    Hope something in here helps.

  8. Kristie_H
    Kristie_H avatar
    9 posts
    13 December 2021 in reply to jegssie

    Hi Jegssie,

    First time using this forum but life long struggle with mental illness. Like yourself, avoidance is preferable although I am very familiar with other non-helpful strategies too.

    I too have always been a loner and I wo dared whether it was a personality trait or something more medical. In summary, I moved a lot as a child and have a very toxic family so I aviod them too, which leaves me mostly alone. I too shrugged off being alone but since I started working, I realised that I am anxious about making new friends and what they might think of me in return.

    I completely understand how anxiety is paradoxical- on the one hand it makes you feel as though you need to be alone, and on the other, as though want anything but to feel alone. I am too waiting over the Xmas period to engage with help and with the stresses that arise at this time of compounded with mental health struggles, time for me seems a bit weird still, like covid time is still hanging around and noone really fully knows what they are doing yet- so you're not alone although your anxiety makes you feel that way, and thanks to this forum you can connect when you want to.

    thanks for sharing your story, it has helped me to feel more normal about my own lonliness and that I am not alone in these woes.

    Best,

    K

  9. jegssie
    jegssie avatar
    8 posts
    13 December 2021 in reply to Kristie_H

    HI Kristie

    Thank you for your message and welcome to the forum.

    I think the hard part of the loneliness is that some people might have friends and family around them so there is a level of comfort or security to be had, but yet for some reason that just isn't enough. There is a big void that just can't be explained, the empty pit in the heart that just can't be filled up. But whilst we still do have family and friends around who support us, we can avoid the issue.

    Like yourself i do wonder why i get these feelings. I do know that i had a mother that just wasn't emotionally there. i.e. she made sure i was fed, clothed, housed and educated, but that was it. She was very anti-social and non-maternal, which put me in good stead for years to come.

    You are certainly not alone in the world. Many of us feel the same as you do. I hope these forums to assist you in some way as well.

    J

  10. jegssie
    jegssie avatar
    8 posts
    13 December 2021 in reply to Banksy92

    Hi Banksy.

    I trust you had a great day today.

    I think the hard part of these attacks is that i just can't predict when they come on. There is no external trigger or method of identification that gives me a lead as to potential issue. I can be in the middle of a non-stressful work email and it comes on or even putting the washing out. I just can't predict it.

    I did read somewhere that often panic attacks often come on as a result of an earlier event that wasn't pleasant or nice to deal with, and it can manifest itself into an never ending cycle of the mind avoiding those issues or panicking when its likely to be confronted with that event again. I've often tried to identify that possibility and i honestly can't think of one.

    I did start regular exercise a year ago, more so on health grounds, but lately I've started doing a more vigorous session when i feel stressed about work or something, and need an outlet to vent that stress. It does certainly break the cycle of stress and i feel calm for a while afterwards. I've already had to replace my treadmill once this year!

    When i was at my darkest period last week around Tuesday, i did wonder if i should reach out to work colleagues. That was the level of desperation i reached, as I'm not particularly close with any of them. This is the drawback of working in a Corporate Finance function. High pressured and no time for social downtime. So i opted to let that idea drop. But through this it has started to make me think about whether this job is now right for me, and take a serious look at it. The possibility that the job might not be helping my mental health. It certainly wasn't the trigger for the breakdown but it has now brought it to the front of my mind.

    Today was easier fortunately. Only lost about 3 hours to a wandering mind at work rather than all day. The mind is still racing. Fortunately the boss can't see that :p

  11. jegssie
    jegssie avatar
    8 posts
    13 December 2021 in reply to geoff

    Hi Geoff. Nice to hear from you.

    I'm not a doctor and i do certainly do not want to preempt what a future specialist might indicate is actually the matter. So I'm running on what my prior specialist said and eluded to for the time being. But with hindsight, I think he's right. I get the impression that its everything else in my mind that drags me down and that causes me to start feeling depressed. So as the days pass, the depression is the first to go, but the anxiety etc still remain but in a subdued state for a while.

    It has certainly been useful to put my thoughts here in chat. It does in some small way help clear my mind and provide some visual clarity to what my mind is thinking about. The main takeaways I've decided is to try and reach out to as many friends as I can now find but be careful not to overwhelm them too much, and start seeking out a specialist to take this further.
    J

    1 person found this helpful
  12. geoff
    Life Member
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    16222 posts
    13 December 2021 in reply to jegssie

    Hello Jegssie, thanks for getting back to us, not only is it good to hear from you again but it's lovely to get your opinion.

    I think what you have said is right, even though our depression doesn't actually go away, the anxiety can be stronger and it's impossible to know each day which is going to be stronger, so it can be like a yo-yo, one kicks in, then it subsides and the other takes over, then vice-versa and may happen all day unless something precipitates these feelings.

    This is why it can be so confusing to us.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

  13. Learn to Fly
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    338 posts
    14 December 2021 in reply to jegssie

    Hi jegssie

    So good to see you back here. And it’s really great to hear that after chatting to us you are starting to feel a bit better and gaining a bit of a clarity to everything that’s happening with you. That’s a great start, and you have come to this point all by yourself, so well done.

    Sometimes this is exactly what’s needed: a chance to tell your story, feel safe during the process (no judgement from anyone) and then sort hear yourself out. Yes, we could do it by ourselves, let’s say by talking to the reflection in the mirror. We could use the same wording but the effect would never be the same as chatting to people who will always respond with great deal of understanding and kind words of support.
    I like your idea about reaching out to your friends. You just never know until you actually try, hey?
    Where do you usually do your workouts? How would you feel about meeting someone through the fitness channel?

  14. jegssie
    jegssie avatar
    8 posts
    15 December 2021 in reply to Learn to Fly

    Hi LearntoFly

    It was definitely a good idea to verbalise my issues earlier this week. Not only did it get out on paper what i was thinking, but it helped get rid of some of the 1000s of ideas and thoughts that continually race through my brain. Catching up with one of my long time friends also helped yesterday as she relieved similar issues with her parents at a young age, so in that i wasn't alone. Many things came clear during this week. I just wish i came to some of these realisations decades ago.

    I lament the idea that my parents didn't pick up my developmental issues in many ways when i was a kid, and therefore didn't get some of the potential help that may have been available by the local councils. But then i look at my Mum and i'm not surprised she didn't pick these things up, as she'd have been fairly oblivious to them. However also looking back, i'm not sure council services for kids was a readily available back in the 70/80s so not sure how that would have worked.

    With regards the gym, i went down the anti-social route years back and have a complete set up at home in the shed. I used to go to a commercial gym in my younger days when i lived near the city, but its not practical at present where i live.

  15. Banksy92
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    16 December 2021 in reply to jegssie

    Hi Jegssie,

    Great to hear back from you again, and gain a little more insight to how you're going and what's been coming up for you.

    It's often a bit of a process for us to really pinpoint the triggers and/or catalysts for mental health events like panic attacks. So I think you may be on to something where ever you read about delayed onset. I suspect they're happening because at a deeper, base level you aren't at your best and this is just your body's way of communicating to you that it needs some support.

    Interesting that you're now considering if your job is having a negative influence on your mental health, it's certainly such a big part of our lives so I think it's always worth assessing if we are truly fulfilled with how we spend our days. I actually faced something similar last year, when I realized that I was unhappy in my job. Working remotely for 4 years, a very corporate industry that didn't align with my values, and highly stressed colleagues... It just wasn't for me. I slowly made steps to get where I wanted to be and a year later I am here and it's done wonders. So I definitely believe this can be a helpful step!

    Brilliant to hear you're looking after your health with regular exercise - sounds like you're quite the runner! That's wonderful. Maybe there is a group in your area you could join who workout together? (Walking group/gym classes/etc)

    Have you had a chance to look into seeing a psychologist yet?

    Let us know how you're getting on.

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