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Posts from January 2010

  • Long Time No Speak!

    by Everybody Lies on 31 January 2010

    Well, I decided to change my display name, make myself sound all deep and cool :)

    Anyway, I do believe I left off where I was going to the doctors as the fluoxetine wasn't working.  Well I told the doctor that I was back to square one, if not worse and as I had tried counselling and it wasn't for me she suggested trying a different drug.  I was put onto venlafaxine which I was told would boost my confidence and enable me to tackle some unresolved issues I have been hidding from.  The doc asked if I would like a sick note for the next week as it would be difficult after a 3 day detox and going on to new medication to cope but I refused as I was starting a new job in a new department of the company on that day and it was simply not possible to go on the sick!  So I battled through like the soldier I'm trying so hard to be.  I found the detox okay, didn't really have too much effect on me other than feeling like I was having a slightly worse day than usual.  I started taking the venlafaxine exactly as directed and then it all started.  My head was all over the place.  Within the first day or two I was totally spaced out, not good when work is counting on you!  My head then became all muddled up.  I would go from being able to do anything and everything to rushing into the toilets and having to fight back the tears as well as becoming increasingly angry and frustrated at the slightest things and nothing at all.  I have been like this for nearly two weeks now, just waiting for my check up on wednesday to tell the doc that I can't take these tablets again!  When my Mam asked me what I was going to tell the doc about my experience of this new drug I burst into a rant about how I hated them and that I couldn't go on with these in my system.  My Dad commented that I had been really spaced out since I started taking them and my Mam said I had been more confident.  All I know is that venlafaxine isn't the drug for me!  I don't even know if depression is the diagnosis for me!  I tried bringing up the fact that I think I could be bipolar (long before the whole Eastenders storyline popped up! What a load of...) but it was instantly brushed aside.  I'm not sure if because I have had such a reaction to the venlafaxine that she will reconsider this as an option.  I hope so.

    I am going to leave it at that, I will hopefully be able to blog more in the coming months and keep you updated.

    I would also like to say thank you to anybody who has read any of the blogs I have posted and a special thank you to anyone who has left a comment, it really helps knowing others are dealling with the same issues and are a here for help.

     

    Good night and good luck

    Vic

  • ... because I can't think of anything witty, captivating or even relevant.  Brain is barely functioning on a "normal" level at the moment.

     

    But I am reading a couple of books about depression that I picked up from the library yesterday (yes, I DID actually go outside my front door - and even managed to speak to the librarian and shop assistants like a NORMAL person!).  The first is a Q&A thing called Depression: Your Questions Answered by Dr Melvyn Lurie; it's quite helpful in its wide-ranging and honest approach - it might even help me decide to give SSRIs another go!  (I have a deep-seated psychological issue about taking ANY medication, unless there is no alternative).  It is also helping me narrow down the various talking therapies available, to find which one would probably help me the most.

    The second is "A self-help guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques" called Overcoming Depression by Paul Gilbert.  I haven't started reading this one yet, but I'm hoping it will help me by trying out a few techniques while I'm still waiting to hear about getting help via the NHS.

    Why do depressives feel so bad about themselves?  No-one could try harder than we do to overcome our illness ...

    Val x

  • A balancing act

    by Optimist at Heart on 22 January 2010

    Feeling happy scares me.  I know it's what many people aim for, but so many times in the past I have played the "see-saw" game that I am nervous of feeling too "up", because I know it will be followed by an almighty "down".  A psychotherapist once told me it was like a pendulum - the further you go in one direction, the further you will go back in the other.  She suggested I might want to aim to get the pendulum movement under control, only going a little in the "positive" direction so that I wouldn't go so far in the "negative" direction.

    It all sounds very sensible, except that it just isn't me.  I am - have always been, since a little girl - someone who feels a lot and tends to show those feelings.  When my eldest sister wrote a poem about/for me once, she used the term "exuberant" to describe me (which made me cry, actually, as I felt I had totally lost that innate exuberance through years of depression).

    So, enthusiasm is part of my make-up ... do I deny that natural character trait, in an effort to prevent the inevitable come down (damage limitation), or do I go with the flow and hope that by allowing my true personality to come out, I will feel a happier, more fulfilled person?  I think it's a balancing act, between not allowing myself to feel happy and enthusiastic at all (where I am at the moment) and completely losing control and going so over-the-top with enthusiasm that I will regret it soon after.  Tricky!

    Val x

  • I thought I'd write, as everything seems apparently well at the moment, and I thought it would be quite gloomy of me to only write when feeling low. Looking back, I've been rather low in mood recently and I can feel it perking up again. The fears of death and growing old have subsided, the fear of not recognising myself has all but gone, and the feelings of letting others grind me down is being over-shadowed by my self-confidence - but a healthy amount, not like the grandiosity I experienced just a few weeks ago. You know, if I could always be like this, I'd consider myself normal. 

    My concerns however have shifted over to people I love. It seems that this Blue Monday thing has more truth to it than I first thought. I mean, yes - in my previous blogs I've mentioned how people seem to go "mad" around Christmas time, and how I've noticed that Christmas can bring out relapses or episodes in those of us who are vulnerable. However, January really has brought a big wave of depression. A couple of my friends are complaining of general nervousness, excessive worry about things that might go wrong, sleeplessness yet constant tiredness, lack of energy, loss of appetite, boredom, frustration, fear and irritability. Of course, I know what these things mean, and I know they need help before they go too far. So why is it that nobody I love will take themselves to a doctor? What is it about going to a doctor to talk about your brain that is so scary to people? It's just another part of your brain that is effectively malfunctioning, and you would see a doctor if you were getting heart palpitations in fear of a future heart-attack, wouldn't you? So why won't people see a doctor with early warning signs of depression in fear of future dangerous thoughts? It really hurts me when this happens. Especially as I know that depression has a detrimental effect on those you love. You get grumpy, grouchy, irritable, sarcastic, sometimes cruel or patronising. You're not happy, so you can't give a happy attitude to others. You might resent others for being happy. Now, when this happens to me, I know what's going on. So I get on the phone to Early Intervention and ask them what to do. I get advice. If it's getting bad, I consider antidepressants. With the work I've done recently, I've learned to effectively manage my depression so it never goes too far. So why is it, if I take these steps to protect those I love, my loved ones can't take these steps to protect not only themselves but the ones they love? Also, how do you keep hold of your head when all around are losing theirs? 

    Comments welcome. 

  • Yesterday's "fresh start" brought rewards: I felt better about myself, having got up and dressed at a reasonable hour, then doing some exercise on the Wii Fit.  I also coloured my hair at last ... it only took two months since purchasing the colorant !!! It looks nice and it gives me a bit of a lift, now, when I look in the mirror - a cheap and recommended way of giving yourself a boost!

    I also walked to the surgery in the afternoon ... and got a cancellation appointment to see someone about my depression.  It was a major breakthrough for me, to finally admit that it had come back again - that although I had "conquered" it for around 18 months, I hadn't "cured" it completely and it was now back in a major way.  The doctor was lovely - very kind and understanding, not pressing me to take medication (which I'm reluctant to do for personal reasons) and trying to get me some sort of talking treatment, although he did admit that if I want it on NHS I may have quite a wait.

    All in all, it was a positive day: I exercised more, coloured my hair, went to the doc (which I'd been putting off) and consequently felt a little more in control of my life.

    Val x

  • A fresh start!

    by Optimist at Heart on 18 January 2010

    Well, that's what I wrote at the beginning of my "morning pages" anyway!!  (Writing morning pages is a daily task from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way).

    Yesterday didn't amount to anything very much on the surface, but inside I spent most of the day telling myself that today was going to be different: that I would go to bed earlier last night (which I did), that I would then get up earlier (which I did), that I would first do my morning pages (which I have) and that I would then do my Wii Fit routine (which I am about to after this blog post!)

    I am then hoping to colour my hair (which didn't get done yesterday!) and hopefully keep the momentum up so that I can tackle a few more simple jobs.  I hope so ... and it's always good to have hope!  ;)

    Val x

  • Yes, it's past midday and I am still in my nightwear, having just got out of bed.  I slept well (my new hormonal cream seems to be helping with that, at least) and awoke with something of a revelation, but I felt like staying in bed to think things through.  In truth, I spend far too much time "thinking things through" when I should, perhaps, get out and DO something instead.  But this revelation (about why I revert to a "little girl" in some group situations) needed more contemplation - as it happened, I fell asleep again and dreamed of my late mother, so that was nice anyway.

    Yesterday didn't go exactly to plan - I did do some ironing, although not as much as I had hoped, but I never even put my outdoor shoes on, so the walk to Tesco didn't materialise!!  Today's aims will be - to do a little more ironing and to colour my hair.  It would be really good to get outside at some point, too, as it's a beautiful day ... but I'm not going to add that to my aims because I don't want to feel too disappointed in myself if I don't manage it.  I have found that, for me, making a smaller list that I can (hopefully) achieve and maybe even do a couple of things extra as well, is FAR better than giving myself a huge list and feeling like a miserable failure when I can't manage them all.  (Of course, there is always the danger of feeling a worse failure because I've only set myself a very small target and can't even achieve that ... but I do seem to be better with some sort of list, so I keep on trying.)

    I've almost finished reading M. Scott Peck's The Road Less Travelled and must say it's got right under my skin, quite uncomfortably, and yet somehow also quite encouragingly.  It has certainly given me much to contemplate (as if I didn't already spend enough time "thinking" ... !!!).

    Val x

  • So, yesterday I again achieved next to nothing.  I did manage to cook a meal last night, giving my poor husband a break, and I did spend some of my online time searching for useful stuff, rather than just playing games (my addiction).  But I still went to bed feeling pretty bad about myself, yet without the mental energy to truly care too much.  This is a new thing, actually - feeling as bad about myself as I have in the past, but not really caring.  I'm a little scared by this development, to be honest; it feels too much like a kind of "giving up" and I don't like that.

    It is my view that my life is MY responsibility, nobody else's, and that includes my recovery from depression.  It's down to me.  Yes, there are people and things that can help, but the buck stops with me; if I don't make the necessary adjustments to my life and my way of thinking, then all the help in the world is not going to make any difference at all.  And I'm not ready to give up on trying to regain better mental health.

    Each day is, for me, both a challenge and an opportunity: it is a challenge to get myself up, washed, dressed and doing the normal, everyday things that non-depressed people do without even thinking about it; it is an opportunity to give myself a break, change my view of myself and the world around me, and try to move forward, even if only with baby steps.  I have found that making a small and (most importantly) ACHIEVABLE list does help me, so today I have decided on two simple aims: the first is to do some ironing, as the ever-growing pile in my dining room is causing me daily grief!!!  The second is to try, if the weather is favourable, to walk to my local supermarket.  My New Year's aim was to begin working up to 10,000 steps a day (I have a pedometer!!) and that has been neglected over the last week or so.

    Watch this space to see how I do!!  (I find it also gives me added impetus if I "publish" my intentions, as I then have to tell other people whether or not I succeeded - LOL)

    Val x

  • The fragmented mind

    by davidsmurthwaite on 16 January 2010

    This is a short article i complied for another site but think it might be relevant here. Dave x

     

    Social Networks are playing a larger and larger role in our lives everyday, this is not news, it's growth is well documented, just take Rage Against the Machine having the Xmas number 1 as a prime example.

    "I do have an addiction... and when I need to take a break, I have my friend hide my phone somewhere I will not be able to find it. That's the only way I can say good-bye for any significant period of time :)"

    Michelle Hillaert on: http://socialnetworkingrehab.blogspot.com/2009/12/140-steps-to-cure-your-social.html

    It’s when it can start to impend upon ones mental and emotional health that we need start worry. I am a prime example, having recently reduced my facebook and twitter usage to nil in an attempt to attain thought with greater clarity. I am not alone it seems. John Mayer has over two and a half million followers on twitter and as of 9am 1st Jan 2010 for one week:

    *email only from laptop or desktop computers

    *cell phones can only be used to make calls, and no text messages or e-mails are allowed – if you receive a text, you must reply in voice over the phone. E-mails must be returned from a laptop or desktop computer.

    *no use of Twitter or any other social networking site – this includes reading as well as posting.

    *no visiting of any entertainment or gossip sites. (No need to detail which ones – you know what they are.)

    As reported on TechCrunch:

    "In his post announcing the Cleanse, Mayer likens our increasingly scattered lifestyles to fragmented hard drives. It’s an apt comparison — between sites like Twitter, Facebook, and multiple Email boxes, most of us have data and friendships scattered across a dozen different places. Mayer thinks giving some of these up for a while might be a good way to “defragment” our minds."

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/30/john-mayer-digital-cleanse/

    Something I attribute partly to a process examined here is the feeling one gets when one arrives home after a long break away, mind clean, priorities clear, and a simple pragmatic approach to what needs to get done.

    I might also reference here a similar state to that that occurs for some when leaving hospital after a long stay. Long stays in psychiatric hospitals by their very nature build camaraderie, nurture companionship and of course meet all basic needs for shelter, warmth and food. Quite some high, as I left to return home in spring 2007, with an approach that perhaps still confuses, that being, the world is my oyster, my health is evangelical.

    "Just a week ago I switched off my Facebook account for just this reason. These sites claim greater social networking, but all it really creates are more distractions for people, more isolation in front of their computers, more escapism, and a false sense of relationships with other people. People do not interact with each other properly, becoming more isolated and so more depressed."

    Travis Bochum on: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7898510.stm

    Dr Aric Sigman, whose work this BBC article is based on cites:

    "It's not that I'm old fashioned in terms of new technology, but the purpose of any new technology should be to provide a tool that enhances our lives."

    "In less than two decades, the number of people saying there is no-one with whom they discuss important matters has nearly tripled."

  • I have recently taken a liking to quotes because sometimes they can show how I feel when I can't find the words myself.  Its the same with music... if I feel like I need to have a good cry or want to lift my mood then I can stick on a few particular songs.

    After discovering my arthritis had come out of remission I wondered if there was anything else that could go wrong.  People have always said that I am so positive and happy but sometimes thats a mask that I wear because showing people a happy face means I'm left alone.  I tend to cope with things better on my own.  If I share my feelings then often that person will worry and I find myself having to reassure them.  People want to listen but I don't always feel heard.

    Christmas was hard... Even though I'd had a steroid boost, I was in quite a bit of pain and I'd had a falling out with my family.  The weather was horrible and I felt myself getting low.  Usually I'll do some writing or listen to music but I couldn't find the motivation.  You know those days where you feel like you are existing, but not living... I was having those more often.  It wasn't a case of feeling so depressed that I couldn't be bothered, it just didn't occur to me.  I am usually the kind of person who takes great pride in her appearance.  Even if I am having a bad day I will still get dressed because its like stepping out of one mood and into another. It can refresh you.  On these occasions though I would just plod along, not even consciously think about having a shower or brushing my teeth.  This in turn then makes you feel worse.  With having the snow and not being able to go out, one day seemed to merge into the next.... no sooner had I got up, it was then time to go to bed.

    I then found out that I would need to have some more surgery, but needed to see a specialist surgeon..... the thoughts then kick in..... "I must have done something really bad in a previous life to be punished this much!"  Of course I know that I'm not being punished, but when you feel like you are constantly jumping hurdles it gets you down... In my mind I am just someone who wants a simple life, the girl who wishes for the world.

    The low point came last Sunday.... emotions were running high and I felt like I wanted to scream.  I'd discovered that a college course had been postponed indefinitely because we'd lost our tutor, I'd also not seen my partner all week and of course when he got home, it wasn't the welcome home he expected... instead he was the emotional punchbag for all my frustrations.  As understanding as he can be, someone cannot be expected to stand there taking abuse and so he shouted back....

    Shutting myself in the bathroom, I put my music on... wanting it to play loud, to drown out the thousand thoughts that were going round in my head.  Then the song came on...  Susan Boyle singing Wild Horses.... Something about the song just seemed to pull this deep emotion out and I started to cry.  I can't remember the lyrics, I just remember the feeling that came through and suddenly it was like a valve had been opened and the pressure inside just started to flow out.

    After having a good cry, I felt exhausted, like I had not slept for an age.  I managed to talk through how I had been feeling with my partner.  He understood that being couped up had made me climb the walls.  Not being able to go out through fear of falling makes you feel like you have reached yet another hurdle,and yet another frustration stacks up with the others.  That night I enjoyed a hot shower and pampered myself.  I felt human again.

    The next day I decided that I needed to do something to lift my mood.  I was still wary of going out, even though I desperately wanted to so I turned to my next passion... cooking.  I made 2 lots of soup which I have frozen ready for those days when my motivation is lacking.  Not only will I get a nourishing meal, it will remind me that I am not useless.  My mood had started to lift... my confidence had decided to make an appearance again and so that night I took a walk down to my local community centre to take part in a dance class.

    It ended up being a hour of hard work but it gave me a feeling of exhiliration... I do believe I walked back home with a spring in my step.

    The next day my joints were having a whinge so I did take it easy... even enjoying some of my soup.   

    So we've arrived at the here and now... Today has not been too bad, the snow has been replaced by rain which hopefully means I can put my ice skates away ;)  I've got a few days until the next dance class which I'm looking forward to and I think I shall bid farewell for now with a final quote.....

     

    Chocolate is the answer, who cares what the question is!

  • ... and another week where I've achieved a big fat nothing!!  My New Year's plans for taking more (a LOT more!!) exercise have been somewhat scuppered by the snow ... but really that's just an excuse, because the snow has been passable since last weekend, and I could have done my Wii Fit workout whatever the weather!  In truth, it was my reaction to being "ignored" on my online writers' forum that threw me off course; when my spirits are low, I take everything SO personally (even though I know my dear friends on the forum are busy people, that they love and value me, and that they never intended to "ignore" me) and it affects my whole life!  So, instead of carrying on with my new exercise routines - which would have made me feel better - I chose to deliberate and cogitate for a couple of days on the possible reasons why my "very important" post had been ignored ... trying to think inside other people's heads, in other words!!  And I thought I'd stopped trying to do that YEARS ago!!

    Anyway ... that little "blip" has taken over my entire week, but I have (hopefully) done enough apologising, explaining, etc, to put all that to rights.  So the weekend and the coming week should be free again for me to restart with the positive plans I have for 2010.  Back to the fitness routine first, plus making time for the creative work.  I need to make a proper start on Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way and return to doing the daily "morning pages" she recommends ... which also went out the window following this week's mental "flip" !!!

    Val x

  • Hello - my name is Val, nice to meet you! I am a middle-aged married woman, who has suffered from depression in varying degrees for the last six years. In 2008 I was convinced that I had conquered the "demon" for good, but during the second half of last year I became increasingly aware of symptoms creeping back in. I didn't respond fast enough - believing, as I did, that I was free of depression and was just having the odd "bad day". Hence here I am, back in the depths of despair (exacerbated by menopausal symptoms) and having narrowly escaped completely alienating myself from a beloved circle of online friends ... who currently constitute my ENTIRE circle of friends! I am very fortunate that those dear friends realised something was very wrong with me and are helping me to get through this bad time.

     

    But notice my online name ... "Optimist at Heart". A strange name for a depressive? No, I don't think so. Because I believe the vast majority of depressed people are like me - they have, buried beneath the layers of despair, inertia and self-loathing, an innate optimism that WILL NOT die. It may not be very easy to locate, at times, but I think many of us know that there is a wellspring of hope and self-belief somewhere deep inside ... and that is why we keep on fighting this terrible illnes

     

    And THAT is the journey I am starting - right here and now - my journey back to self-belief, back to the person I was meant to be, back to ... happiness and joy. Wish me luck!! Val x

  • i think my heart might break

    by soulmamma on 13 January 2010

    So seemingly like the rest of everyone on here i had a awesome xmas and am too waiting for my fall out back into the darkness and slow moving days. so far i've been ok. i've only had two anxiety attacks since my last prescription, which is good. my irrational fear has dissapeared. which is excellent! but on Monday i received the devastating news that my friends brother had been killed in Afghanistan. i knew him as a teenager, and all he ever wanted to do was join the army. i come from a military family, my dad was a paratrooper for 22 years so i understand the army, and i can see the heartbreak from all sides. and i know that whatever i feel my friends family are feeling a hundred times worse. i can't stop thinking about it. i've had a little cry, i've had a lot of thinks. his wife is a widow at 30, his mum is burying her child, and his neicies will continue to grow without an awesome uncle. we are all incredibly proud of him, and all the other men and women who have kept this war from our door steps. but no matter how proud i am i tell myself my heart is breaking and there are no pills, or therapy that change that. and it's an awful feeling, a truly terribly out of control feeling.

    i have a funeral to go to today my other halfs grandad passed away just after xmas, he was ill so it was expected. but all the same sad. so i shall wear my black dress and go and cry some tears for alot of people today.

  • 2010

    by Booa26 on 11 January 2010

    Well, after the excitment of christmas (which I always get far to caught up in) has come the inevitable come down that always kicks in as soon as January begins. I dont know why people get so excited about new years eve. To me all it is is the lead up to 2 freezing cold months, with no money and feeling guilty after the festive indulgencies. I love Christmas eve and Christmas day but after that I just feel so low. Not helped by the recent weather, which has made my journey to and from work (I walk and get the train) an absolute nightmare. I have spent most of the weekend just gone asleep, namely because I have not seen any decent reason to be awake.

    Today, after getting the the station early only to find my train cancelled and a mini bus that took 4 times as long as the train journey would of, and a hours long walk in the snow, i have found myself in a foul mood. Literally, everyone at work seems afraid to speak to me. And I am fighting back tears. Bit over the top I know but I cannot help it. Sometimes everything just seems to be too much for me and I just wish I could hibernate. Everyone is irritating me today, noones fault, I know its just me being wound up.

    I am currently waiting for an appointment with a psyhotherapist but am told I am looking at waiting 6 months, and am also undergoing tests as my periods have stopped. possibly to do with my diet, but could be something more sinister. All little things that are causing me stress that I could do without.

    thats about it for now, better get back to work.

     

     

  • I knew something would tip me over. I was speaking to my therapist the other day, and I told her that "the problem is, I can do everything in my power to make sure I don't have a relapse, but I can't prevent the actions of other people, and if other people chose to make me unhappy, I have no defense against that".

    Last-night I felt incredibly giddy. It was a bizarre feeling, because I knew I was yet to come down from Christmas' insanity. I was still up and energised from that, but because the crash had started to come, I was feeling anxious and scared. Although, I woke up today feeling more normal than I have in a month or so. 
    Later on today, I found out my boyfriend had been watching internet porn. Naturally, the crash came right then.
    I'm not good enough. I'm too fat - these porn girls are like 3 dress sizes smaller than me. I don't do enough. I'm on my period - I should have skipped my period this month. He doesn't love me. This is like he's cheating on me. He doesn't love me. He never loved me.

    So of course, I asked him "Have you looked at this stuff before with your exes?"

    "No" he said. "No I haven't".

    That made it worse. He loves his ex more than me. He doesn't love me. I'm not as good as his exes. I'm too fat. Too ugly. Not posh enough. Not good enough. Nothing I do will ever be enough. He sees me as a mother, not a lover. He is not interested in me. Our relationship is dead.

    I'm stuck. I'm wide awake at 2:15am, drinking, and I'm at a loss as to what to conclude over this.

    I feel deflated, disillusioned, inadequate, fat, ugly and rubbish. He knows how I feel about the way I look, too. That makes it worse.

    Has anyone else been in this situation / can offer advice?  

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