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  1. Caffeine has become a terrible dilemma in my life. Coffee works for me as an effective if short-lived anti-depressant. Without it I feel hopeless, unmotivated, unfocused and disengaged from life. Without coffee I can easily spend most of the day lying around doing nothing except browsing online forums. But coffee puts my anxiety through the roof, as do most other 'activating' drugs and supplements. My sleep quality goes downhill and my 3 am despairathons become more common. Trying to quit caffeine outright almost definitely worsened my depression. Currently trying to get by on a couple of cups of green tea per day (some caffeine, but also reported to have calming effects via the theanine). For anxiety relief, I'm quite impressed so far (3 days) with passionflower tea. It seems to have a very soothing effect. It's often recommended by those recovering from long term benzo use -- who usually know a thing or two about anxiety... FS
  2. No need to apologise CG: I'm pretty sure I'd have to abandon my cold shower regime if I ever find myself in a Canadian winter. But it's 90*F here today (and most days), so it's a little easier for me. Perhaps you can try to imagine you're on a tropical island? FS
  3. Get in my time machine and travel to 2007. But the machine is broken, so second choice is to just be here with someone I love instead of just being here with myself.
  4. I can certainly relate to this. Depression and anxiety follow me around like two ugly sisters (which makes me Cinderella, but I'm not going to the ball because it's just too much effort). Caffeine can be a great boost for my depression. I can't tolerate much, but even a small cup of coffee helps get me out of the house and motivated to at least do something. But the other sister, anxiety, paid another impromptu visit this week (she always turns up at 3am, so very anti-social), which then rules out any caffeine as a pick-me-up. It's an impossible puzzle -- it seems I can't appease both sisters at the same time. I'm either less anxious and totally blah, or feeling more lively, but also irritable and anxious. When I took Klonopin for anxiety, I felt it worsened depression. When I took Lexapro, it made everything worse.
  5. While idly surfing the web the other day I stumbled across a forum claiming cold showers can improve mood and motivation, and reduce depression. I’m now on day three of a cold shower regime and think they just might be onto something. Like many here, I’m usually at my worst in the mornings. Upon waking, my brain is in neutral for five or ten seconds before I remember where I’m at in my life, and the gloom and anxiety kick smartly into gear. It typically takes me over an hour to get out of bed after I wake up — which is totally self-defeating, because the longer I lie there, the worse I feel. But the shock of the cold water seems to divert my negative thought processes; a couple of minutes later I’m out of the shower, shivering a little, but at least feeling able to face the day. I believe Karl Marx said “the antidote to mental suffering is physical pain.” Cold showers would seem to offer a relatively harmless form of this antidote. I live in a hot climate, so my shower doesn’t get icy cold. Cool and bracing seems to do the job. Any Minnesotans or Norwegians here can really put this theory to the test. If other forum members have tried or want to try this very cheap therapy (lower utility bills!) I’d be interested to hear their experiences. For the time being I’m calling it hydro convulsive therapy (HCT). Ironically, the traditional use of cold showers -- to control libido -- seems to have been misguided. Some studies report that cold showers actually raise testosterone levels in males. FS
  6. Hi Gravity, The worst thing about depression is that it's extremely depressing. Not least the financially draining process of trying to find even a small amount of relief. Fortunately my Pdoc / Big Pharma experience was short, if not so sweet. Looking back, it seems absurd that a complete stranger can sit in front of me for 20 minutes, ask a few routine questions, and then prescribe a drug that will alter the structure of my brain, perhaps permanently. Had I been in my right mind, I would have shaken my head and laughed. But I wasn't in my right mind, so I said thanks very much and took the prescription to the pharmacy. I'd almost rather be back in the Middle Ages and handed a jar of leeches to cure my bad humours. When I asked the Pdoc how long I might need to take anti-depressants, be breezily replied that many people need to stay on indefinitely. How marvellous is that for the medical industry? If a pharma company ever came up with a drug formulation that was *highly* effective against depression, would they want to market it? It would destroy their profit stream. I also tried a life coach. Unlike the Pdoc, she at least showed some empathy, but any 'coaching element' was sorely lacking. So, yeah, I think my money is better spent on a gym membership or yoga classes. Latest experiment is cold showers, which many claim help to improve mood and outlook. At least they save on utility bills. FS
  7. Agree with the above coments. TM, perhaps you answered your question in the first line of your post: "My doc is a nice guy, and he's said he's always happy for me to come in and just chat for a while." He may not have a miracle cure, but I don't think there's any downside to a chat. Let us know how it goes. Best wishes, FS
  8. Thanks for the comments. Interesting / worrying to learn about possible brain atrophy with depression. I've definitely become more absent-minded recently. And yesterday a couple of friends were discussing a new business plan and I found myself struggling to keep up. It really wasn't anything overly technical or complicated. On the other hand, my chess game is still okay, so I haven't lost all hope for my grey matter. And I hauled myself to a 2 hr yoga class today. Despite much rattling and creaking from my bones, it's probably the best anti-depressant I know of. Best to all at DF. FS
  9. Hi LG, Sorry to hear about your Ritalin problem. I know next to nothing about the drug, but have heard that chemically it's a close cousin of illegal drug, so addiction is certainly possible. Probably best to seek some professional advice on how to tackle this. You say you started on it because your life was a bore, but you also say: "My past? ..it would become a 20 books saga." So why not start the first book? I'd like to read it! Best wishes FS
  10. Hi all, First post, but I've been a regular reader / lurker for the past six months. In my prolonged mental slide, I've come to realise that those in a similar state of mind are often the most supportive and empathetic. Well-meaning advice from family members, doctors and friends usually makes me feel worse. Which is another way of saying thanks for the forum and to those who post here. My first 46 years were, in hindsight, a walk in the park. The past year or so has been hell and I'm not seeing a way out of this. I ended a brief relationship, only for my ex to reappear two months later to tell me she was pregnant after 'forgetting' to take her birth control pills. I offered financial support, but not the marriage offer she wanted. She's since had the baby and is now living overseas, with a new partner. The slow torture part refers to my ongoing financial disintegration. I've suffered big losses on some not-so-wise investments. The unwinding process takes time to go through the courts and the bad news is being dribbled out slowly, so I keep having to reduce my expectations on how this ends. Each time I adjust to a new level of awfulness, it seems it's not enough. I'm not working at the moment, and my opportunities to find a new job look very limited. I was well into a midlife crisis before these events, and I'm now struggling to function on a daily basis. I was put on Lexapro back in May, but I felt like a complete zombie and came off after 3 months. I'm also sceptical about the psych industry in general. Sometimes there is no magic cure; it's more about coming to terms with crappy life events. Some days I feel I'm on my way to acceptance. Other days I'm full of anger, self-pity and some very dark thoughts.
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