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    mental health advice

    I am hesitating to start this thread. But I have gotten so much support and friendship and love from so many over the years, which I want to acknowledge as being more important than any of you who offered it could know. This isn't a plea for sympathy or attention but instead I need some serious mental health advice.

    The bottom line is I have struggled with mental health issues as far as I can remember. It runs in my family. I fight with severe depression and anxiety. It was at its worst when I was a teenager. It has gotten better as I moved towards turning 30. But that is after years of intensive therapy and many medications. I have gotten my panic attacks under control. For the past few years those haven't been a problem. I still struggle with general anxiety but have learned coping strategies that have been somewhat successful.

    The killer for me though is depression. Extreme depression. I haven't been formally diagnosed as bipolar but I sometimes think I am. I have tried many anti-depressants. They do help. There was a time in my life where I did not function at all in any way. School, work, socially I couldn't handle anything it seemed. I failed many classes, couldn't hold a job. Burned very important friendships and hurt my family. When I was younger I used to cut as a way to deal with it. Then alcohol became the tool when I started university. Now I tend to just cut myself off from everything and everyone. I shut down and just avoid dealing with the world.

    It's not like this all the time but I slip into periods where everything seems unbearable and bleak. I get so I can't even cope with small things, nevermind something that causes the least bit of stress. This is a recipe for disaster because once you start avoiding things because they are stressful they often turn bigger problems. At some point even small things start to feel so overwhelming that I just start to shut down. But then it feeds itself because by shutting down I cut myself off from others and it is when I am entirely alone that the darkness seems to completely surround me. I know this sounds like I am crazy but I don't know any other way to describe it.

    I have tried very hard for the past 10 years to break out of this constant cycle. Like I said meds help and therapy helps. But I have come to realize that those two things can only go so far when the problem is essentially something deep inside yourself. It's like I have a self-hatred for myself. So when I fall into these dark moods, I almost feel like I deserve to feel this way. Like I deserve to be feeling so much emotional pain. And I know that is not true, nobody deserves to be stuck in a pit of depression. But that is what it is.

    I keep trying to re-invent myself. When I am not at the bottom of a depression cycle I tell myself "this is what I will do to move forward." And I have moved forward. I have done much better in school over the past few years. I don't sabotage myself grade-wise as much as I used to. I have become better at dealing with my friends and family. In the past in periods of stress I would push them away so hard that sometimes they just wouldn't bother with me anymore. It still happens that I push too hard sometimes. But I am better at trying to address issues before they get to the point where I can't handle them. I have had some success with working and volunteering. None of it has been easy and I still have many setbacks. But the point is I have moved forward so I know it is possible.

    But even though I have managed to get some stability in my life for what feels like the first time, I still have times when I slip. And right now I feel like I am on the verge of another big downfall into darkness. It has been building for months. I have tried to pull myself back from it. But not always in the best ways I should. It's like I only feel safe if I can isolate myself but part of me fears that isolation. So I reach out in ways that are not really good for me or other people. I feel suicidal but I really don't think I really want to die. I want to be left alone but I feel miserable when I realize how lonely I am. I don't want to cope with anything but realize that I have to or things only get worse.

    Now that I sound completely crazy. This is the advice I am hoping to find. What can I do to stop this slide? How do you let go of the past? How do you keep moving forward when you just feel like you can't?

    I know lots of people here don't like me. Fair enough. Please don't use this post as ammo against me. I can't handle that right now. And I am honestly writing this from a place that is very close to absolute desperation. I realize that clinical depression is a illness that requires treatment. I am just trying to find things I can do help when the medication doesn't seem to be working as well as it needs to. I don't want to continue to exist like this. It's hard to feel like it sometimes but I do have good things in my life. My physical health has been good, if not my emotional health. My last go round at school opened up a new friendships. My family is all good and I am spending more quality time with them. I was finally starting to accept myself as being worthy of good things happening, rather than destoying them through my own behaviour. I don't want to throw all that away.

    Took a lot of courage to post this, hope you realize you are VERY worthy of being happy and creating the life you want


      If you are not experiencing the manic highs of a bipolar personality then you have a unipolar depression. I do too. It runs in my family very strongly also. My youngest son had his first episode with depression at age 7. I feel for you on this.

      I tried many antidepressants over the years starting in 1975. None of them kept me from the dark places for very long. I started takinga low dose of Seroquel for sleep since I could get to sleep, but could not stay asleep which is the only time I felt good. With the seroquel I sleep for 7-8 hours straight.

      Seroquel is an antipsychotic (nuke 'em drug) that is used for bipolar depression. Even though I was taking the seroquel instead of regular antidepressants for sleep I started to notice that my moods were evening out, not flattening as I feared. I no longer needed the antidepressants which can be taken in conjunction with the seroquel.

      I feel good for the first time in my life. I have low periods, but not at all like I have suffered with my whole life. I used to get urges or thoughts for suicide that just popped into my head and then wouldn't leave until the darkness subsided, but I do not anymore.

      Seroquel is a powerful drug with many side effects and should be considered as a last resort in my opinion, but a low dose (barely therapeutic) is all I needed and I thank God every day for it.
      Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess


        I know lots of people here don't like me.
        I wouldn't say that. People vent here and snipe at each other but when it comes down to it we all roll the same suck ass path. There are people here that go for my throat in the politics forum but if I post something in care or life are the first to offer helpful advice. You have more people on your side here than you know.

        I have offered this advice before and I don't mean it to sound trite, but when I get depressed (I have to admit I am not struggling with it like you are) I read. Books take me to a world where I am fighting aliens or solving crime, whatever. I guess it is what some people get from meditation, but I have never been good at that. I can escape the pain, loss of function, and all the crap associated with SCI for a little while. It helps me a lot.

        Anyway, hope you find some answers.


          Just letting it out is a good thing, Amanda, thanks for telling us what you're going through. Lots of people here love you, including myself. You're a special woman, with unique talents. I wish I knew how to solve your depression problems. So many people suffer from depression from what I can tell, and there doesn't seem to be anything that truly addresses the problem. I'm usually an upbeat person, but I once in awhile will get depressed. Sunshine and good weather helps me a lot, I hope it will also help you as the days get warmer.
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            i've been having the same issues... tho my depression is related to pmdd. i am still slogging through but what my motivation is my love of science. i understand how you feel as i often feel that way myself
            "Smells like death in a bucket of chicken!"


              Just knowing you have the problem is half the battle. We all suffer from a form of depression at one time or another. It's knowing it, and knowing what you need to get yourself out of it. For some, they need the help of drugs, for others it's reading a good book. Getting out of the house in the sunshine help others, and for some...they're still stuggling to discover what will work. The main thing is knowing there is a problem and trying whatever you need to try to get out of the dark place.

              You already know isolation is a big problem for you, so avoiding the isolation is something that you should try to control, and it sounds like over the years you've figured that out and have been trying. What works for one of us, may not work for you. I love going to the park and sitting by the river and just listening to the peace, quiet, and the river. I write postcards, and when my hands allow me, I like to sew. Night time in pain is usually the worst for me......and sometimes we just need to cry and let it out.

              It would be good if you had someone who understands and you could talk to. Being alone is probably not a good thing for you. It just allows you to continue down the path of darkness. If you can't figure out things that help you, medication would probably be something you should consider.

              Good luck Amanda, and don't give up. You've come a long way and I think you can get it under control.


                thank you very much for your post. My own mental-health is almost exactly the same as yours. Is it possible for you to get some extra time with a therapist when you feel like you are heading downward?

                As an fairly objective CC member (I don't personally know you or haven't interacted with you on CC), I can honestly say you are one of the posters that I'll make a point of reading. Your input is always interesting and articulate. I always seem to learn something from reading your posts whether it be on a topic as important as the one you brought up today or something more ordinary like music or food.

                So, in terms of a reality check, you are the bomb on CC imho.

                I wish I had something more concrete to offer you. Hopefully, someone here can be helpful.
                Last edited by Wesley; 11 Apr 2012, 4:51 PM.


                  Amanda you and I are not so different, girlie! I see so much of myself in your own post.

                  Add in a chair and/or severe disability and being socially cut off from people because of physical access and it's a definite recipe for depression!

                  There are days when I am severely depressed. I tend to draw myself away from people too. When I'm at work, I'm very funny and outgoing. When I go home, I close the blinds and wallow. Does it make me bipolar? No, it's just the way I deal.

                  I think it's important to take that time to wallow in the dark - carefully - and explore it. It gives me better perspective to remain on an even keel for other days. I have had to accept that I have lowered my expectations for my life as well (this has more to do with my ex leaving than my disability).

                  The only advice I can offer is to get comfortable with how your emotions work ... expect that there will be periods of depression as long as you realize they won't last forever. I SERIOUSLY LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME. I try not to indulge in the past, nor worry for my future though it can be very difficult as a disabled person.

                  Your family (mine at least) is never going to understand what you're going through. You're a very thoughtful, intelligent, talented and warm lady! Everyone says the same here - so know it and own it!

                  Sometimes it even helps to be around others who are disabled as well. I come here because I know there are others who challenge me to be better (Patrick Madsen, t8burst, chick, just to name a few) and still others who are struggling more than I am. I NEED THIS CONNECTION. Maybe that's what is missing for you?

                  Beyond that, there is no shame in talking to someone. I've been considering it myself again lately. I wish I could help because I've been wondering how you've been - if you think you're really in trouble than please reach out for it. You are so worth it!
                  Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

                  T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12


                    I've struggled with clinical depression for years in fact I'm pretty sure I've had it since childhood, wasn't diagnosed to mid 20's. At any rate I find that interacting with people, keeping busy and just plain getting out of my apartment helps. You weren't specific on your antidepressents but if you're only one antidepressent maybe talk to your doctor about a antidepressent "cocktail" Zoloft on it's own worked really well for me for years but then it stopped working so now I'm on a combination of Zoloft and Wellbutrin. Everybodies neurochemistry is different but it might be worth a try. Wellbutrin does funny things to your weight, most people lose weight on it but some gain and I'm one of them.


                      Hi OJ, I was so glad to read your post even tho' it pulled at my heart strings.

                      I had a horrible feeling that something was wrong when your posts on FB and here suddenly stopped but I had no idea that your "Black Dog", as Churchill called the depression that cursed his life, had woken.

                      It is so unfair that when things were going so well, your European trip, great results with your masters, new pup, the proposed relocation etc............. that this then should creep up on you.

                      As for advice - I can only thank the Gods that I don't suffer from genuine depression and if I'm in a bit of a funk a quick read of The Wind in the Willows or similar will get me back on track, that being the case I'm afraid I have no wise words.

                      All I can offer, as I hope you already know, is my full support, love and an ever listening sympathetic ear.

                      Please try to get to the UK again this year so unlike last year we can meet in the flesh.


                        I think this thread came off as more self-pitying than I hoped. On the outside my life is not terrible. I have lots going for me that others would be more than happy to have. I do know that. I thought about this all day. I read all the replies and they were helpful. Thank you everybody. I know I have to get this under control. I used to think that maybe some people are just naturally more happy than others. But it's not normal to feel this way for so long even after medication and therapy and having good things in your life. I am going to see about a referral to a new doctor.


                          I do not think you are exhibiting self pity. To me what you wrote is a simple statement of facts.

                          I think most people who are facing the feeling that the darkness is approaching feel fear that it wil overtake them again. To someone who does not have a severe clinical depression it seems overly dramatic or silly, but a true clinical deep depression is something that cannot be just shaken off with a few days of behavior change. The darkness prevents any kind of enjoyment from being able to seep in and sometimes it is the only safe place.

                          You are probably right in that you need a new psych set up. I fought this for forty years with no success until I got over the fear to try just one last thing. That thing worked for me and I no longer have the creeping dread of wondering every day if it is going to come back and hang around for months at a time.

                          I wish you peace and love.
                          Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess


                            I don't think it is either .. and I think you would be surprised at how many people here feel the same way you described!
                            Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

                            T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12


                              Originally posted by Jim View Post
                              Took a lot of courage to post this, hope you realize you are VERY worthy of being happy and creating the life you want
                              OJ, I don't want to minimize anything you described but I just wanted to try and point some things out that I've learned along the way.

                              - The mental health docs and pharma make a ton of money off of folks. Their interests don't always allign with yours. You should have an end game for therapy and getting off the meds if you can.
                              - You are the captain of your ship and no mental health professional will take an ounce of responsibility for where you end up in life.
                              - Many mental health professionals went into the business to figure out their own issues while they "help others with theirs"
                              - So many mental health issues are circumstantial (horrible boss, living with a SCI, living in a perpetual state of crisis, born into a horrible family environment, not being prepared for the world by your parents, ...). Try and minimize the bad environmental stuff, shore up deficiencies and then move on, if possible.

                              And most importantly take responsibility for your happiness and situation as Jim alluded to above. No one else is going to do this for you!