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abyssal

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  1. Today I screwed up a presentation at work. It wasn't to a huge number of people, and it should have been a perfectly simple thing, but I got rattled, babbled like an *****, stumbled, mixed things up, left important stuff out. The more nervous I got, the worse things got. And the worse things got, the more scared I was. I felt so incredibly stupid, incompetent, fraudulent... I think one of the ladies in the meeting is p***** off with me because I didn't do a very good job at highlighting the work of her team. I ended up in tears on the bus afterwards and I was shaking by the time I got home. I had three months off work last year due to severe depression and hospitalisation, but I have been back full time since January. I constantly feel that my stupidity and lack of mastery will be found out - that it *should* be found out, because I am not up to standard. There have been a lot of cutbacks and job losses in my organisation, and I can't really defend why they should keep me. Urrrgh... At the moment, I feel I can't do or say anything right, in any area of my life. It makes me want to stay at home, in a small box and never try to speak to or interact with anyone ever again. I would possibly apply to become a Trappist nun... if, y'know, I wasn't a complete atheist. I feel as if I should be growing out of this (I am 34) but I seem to be getting worse. Also, I am one of those people who remember every embarrassing thing that has ever happened to them with excruciating clarity. There are humiliations fully 30 years old that still make me sweat, so every new thing adds to the weight. Any advice on how to deal with ultra-sensitivity, nerves, embarrassment, or wanting to hide in a box would be appreciated. Also, if anyone would like to share experiences of making a presentation to 2,000 people with your flies undone, sending out something with a hideous spelling mistake or factual error, or accidentally sending a sexy email to your whole department, that would really help. (For info, on mirtazapine and quetiapine since last September and in therapy three times a week. Not working at the moment.)
  2. I often put off sleep too, but largely because I know that sleep will be followed by waking, and I really, really wish that that didn't have to happen.
  3. Like many on this forum, I am an adult "survivor" (dubious term) of school bullying. Was bullied on and off (mostly on) between the ages of 6 and 16. Now aged 33, and have been diagnosed depressed since I was 17. Bullying led to extreme social isolation, disconnection, permanent stress and panic attacks. When I left school for sixth form college, I had no idea how to exist as a social being. I held it together for two terms before sliding off into depression and having a breakdown under university application and exam stress. Which led to a horrifically dysfunctional and depressed time at Uni, which led to years of low self-esteem, hopelessness, underemployment, relationship problems and, of course, recurrent major depression, ad infinitum. I am less successful than probably every single one of my school, college and university peers, by any measure you care to name. Probably significantly less successful than all of the people who bullied me. The thing that really gets me, though - what, as I believe the expression goes, really chaps my *** - is that I could have done so much more to protect myself, from the emotional manipulation, bullying and subsequent damage. I made things so *easy* for them. I was shy and anxious and serious and easily upset, and the things that bothered me were much too obvious. There were any number of ways I could have lessened their power to hurt me, without anyone realising and without losing my self-respect. Any number of ways I could avoided negative attention. Any number of ways I could have messed with *their* heads. Any number of ways in which I could have built a better, stronger person in spite of all the sh*t. Instead I went further and further into a world of fantasy and avoidance, and getting more and more distressed, and every day was a gift to the bullies. Incidentally, my parents largely went for the "just ignore them" approach. I tried. Either I wasn't good enough at it, or it just didn't diminish the fun. I never really developed a strong enough sense of self to withstand it all, and no one ever cared enough to offer any support. I am not denying the responsibility of people for their own callousness and hurtful behaviour. It just galls me that I could have taken so much more control away from them and diffused so much of the pain. I probably couldn't have avoided bullying (bad skin, big bottom, weird accent, only real friend moved away, rarely into the same music or TV as everyone else) but I didn't have to drench myself in lighter fluid and hand them a flamethrower. SO many things I did wrong, you wouldn't believe. I think this may be the reason I've found it so hard to move on. I *helped* people wreck my head and my life. I was just wondering if anyone else felt anything like this?
  4. Get out of my head! Hate update... Currently beating myself up for reasons very similar to those above. Am certain I am much more to blame than SyntheticSmile, though. I can see, so clearly, what my life should have been, could have been, if I hadn't been so *relentlessly* weak and stupid. I suspect one of the reasons my depression is so firmly entrenched is that I think I deserve it. I disgust myself. Unfortunately, this doesn't work in my case. I am incredibly frustrated and dissatisfied with Child Me as well, who made things so much harder for herself than they needed to be, and laid such unfavourable social and emotional foundations for Adult Me. I have some powerful hatin' going on.
  5. For some people, this may work really well. Unfortunately for others, if we could do it, we would. Sorry - have just had some really bad experiences in this area. Stuarachel... I hear you on the frustration, view of life and lack of confidence. In terms of answers - I wish I knew. The most helpful thing for my depression in the past year has been joining a support group. Possibly interaction with people with similar experiences would help you feel a little more connected to the rest of the world, and also provides some (theoretically) safe social interaction, which help to build confidence.
  6. Depression, by its very nature, involves emotions we would rather not have. We have to deal with these, and with the fact that the condition may be widely misunderstood, marginalised or mocked. However, even amongst other depressives, there are feelings that are easier to admit to than others. I have little problem expressing my vicious self-loathing, regret, despair or apathy. I have a harder time 'fessing up to the uncharitable feelings I have for others. I don't explicitly and exclusively hate happy people. But in my low periods (which are constant these days) I *may* experience degrees of dislike or disconnection. The most severe of these are for people whose happiness has been directly, knowingly built on the unhappiness of others (including me, and the rest of the downtrodden and dumped-upon). There are also the people who use the high ground of their own good fortune or untroubled mental health to pass judgement on the confused and distressed. Then there are those who simply cannot imagine what it might be like not to feel that life is worth living, or that one's needs are not important. These people may be staggeringly tactless or kind and well-meaning - but they inhabit a land that I don't recognise. Then there are the happy happy couples - openly showing affection and no doubt completely unaware of the knife to my heart. For me, there are also the friends I made through shared experience of severe depression who have made great strides in their recoveries and may now be living completely altered lives. Of course I don't hate them, and on some levels, *of course* I am happy for their change in circumstance. But shamefully, they also make me so very, very sad. They don't seem to know what to say to me anymore, and I don't know what to say to them. Where people use their own happiness as the basis for bad or cruel behaviour, I think this is a legitimate cause for anger. But I am also aware that much of the above involves envy. David L Conroy (in his excellent book Out of the Nightmare) identifies envy as one of the key components of suicidal depression and notes the fact that suicide rates rise in spring and summer (when many people are happier and that happiness is more evident). He also reports several completed suicides he knew in which the precipitating factor was the marriage of a sibling or close friend - increased pain caused not by personal loss but by the gain of someone else. Envy is not exactly an edifying or empowering emotion. I am aware that on some level I am jealous of everyone in the world simply for not being me, but it is harder to admit to specific envies or to be openly Grinchy about levels of bliss in the world. Even when people hurt you, you am supposed to rise above this and wish them well (rather than unimaginable suffering). I sometimes feel like the only person on this forum who experiences negative emotions towards others - and I understand why discussion of these may be discouraged - but I was wondering if anyone else had a perspective on other people's positive emotions interacting badly with their own depression. I don't even know if I should post this. I am aware that I may be the only one who feels this way or the only one who wants to talk about it. If so, I will be over there in the corner and you can all throw pointy rocks at me.
  7. First of all, I do not underestimate the impact of depression in childhood, adolescence or young adulthood. I have been depressed to some degree since my earliest years, diagnosed at 17 - and it is horrific. I thought my life was over at 18. BUT... I am now 33. My recurrent major depression is now constant, and I have never had any significant periods of "normality" (however one chooses to define that). I think my life is over *now* - for similar reasons as before - but with more evidence and weight. I have now tried many treatment options and my life choices are closing in on me. I admit I tend to judge the relevance of other threads to my situation based on the age of the posters or at least the duration of their depressions. If they are too young, I tend to think of all the extra years they have to put things right (that I no longer have). Similarly, I may judge advice to me based on the similarity in age of the poster. Some forums based on conditions highly prevelant in the young (like social anxiety) have specific 30+ subforums. I don't think that we would get such a thing here (and it might be unhelpfully divisive) but I was just wondering whether others here are as aware of the age issue as I seem to be, and whether they would value somewhere (maybe just some stickied threads) to find those of similar age groups.
  8. I can't argue with the disillusionment you've suffered. I can't excuse the thoughtlessness, selfishness and downright cruelty with which people have treated you. I don't think lack of trust is an unreasonable reaction to your life story. I especially can't argue with it as I would struggle to think of anyone I truly trust myself. (In some cases this is not their fault - I can't trust them because they did things in good faith or in ignorance which ended up hurting me. Or I can't trust them because I don't trust myself, and this throws the relationship terminally out of balance. In many cases, though, it is entirely justified.) I would never say "forget everything that's happened up to now and move on." That would be massively hypocritical. BUT... There are 58,716 people registered on this forum. I appreciate that it might take a while to go through them all, but statistically, there should be someone here you *can* trust. Someone who can see why you suspect their motives and doesn't take it personally. Someone with patience if not infinite then enough to ease the transition towards trust. You don't have to trust anyone yet. But maybe you could suspend distrusting a few people for while. Just a little. People have tried to reach out in this thread. You don't have to accept the purity of their intent or the unshakeability of their compassion unless or until you get to know them better. But they *might* not be part of the pattern that you know and hate. Whether finding this out will be worth it is not a judgement that anyone else can make. I would not deny that broken people can still break others. But many people here will recognise similar vulnerabilities in others and treat them gently. This might give you a safer environment to just begin to *think* about trusting others. It would be a start.
  9. I have to agree with Spiritual Wanderer... things seem to get worse. I've been depressed since childhood, diagnosed at 17 and so far my 34th year has been unprecedentedly bad. I never thought I had much hope before, but the last five years have shown me how much lower I could go.
  10. Hehe... I have had a couple of bad experiences with psychiatrists this year - similar unfounded conclusions and pre-conceived notions, and leaving the impression that I was there to be told what was wrong with me and be grateful, rather than express my thoughts or feelings in any way. Hereafter they shall all be known as Dr McJudgypants. Thank you :)
  11. That's okay... I'm not going to say it. I'm sick of hearing it too. Again, I'm not going to argue with you. Nothing short of having the last 29 years of my life back with all the knowledge that I currently hold, to do things over again until I get them right (however long that takes) will fix it for *me*, so I think we're even. And posts like this are precisely why we want you here. You are intelligent and articulate and much more engaging than you think you are, and you are in a very bad place, both psychologically and practically. Doesn't matter whether you think you're depressed or not. Doesn't matter if you think you sound like a lunatic. Doesn't matter if you think no one should listen to you. I'm a crazy person. Do not question my strange inclinations as to how I expend my time and effort. Humour me before I start eating string again. Stay around... please. Incidentally, your thread title feels like the story of my life. I'm a bit older than you and my story is very different (and of course I consider myself *much* more unsalvageable) but I do have some experience of visceral despair and self-loathing. I suspect it may be counter-productive to say I understand you, since I tend to feel that no one can ever really see how fundamentally broken and hopeless I am and I suspect you may feel the same way. So I will try not to annoy you with empathy, or to tell you you're not alone. Just... if I could hug you in a way that communicates mutual incomprehensibility, I would.
  12. Another atheist here. Offspring of a precocious atheist and an agnostic, went through a religious phase at around 8 or 9, was still praying on and off at around 11 (though more for superstitious than devotional motivations), then shaded into agnosticism before becoming a convinced atheist at 13 or 14. I would not describe myself as a spiritual person. I don't believe I have a soul as such. I'm not convinced we have free will. I see much beauty in science, but I don't see any higher meaning beyond the physical laws of the universe. I don't know if this impacts on my depression, but my atheism is one of the few things about myself that I'm happy with. Basically, I see no reason to believe; no space in the world that a deity needs to fill. I would be deeply concerned about any doctor who prescribed faith as a cure, and would be surprised if that does not actually constitute a violation of some professional code of conduct.
  13. I wasn't able to cry for months. Having never had a problem before, the ability disappeared at some point earlier this year. I could go through the motions - wail and gasp and shake - but no tears. This was confusing and distressing, and I kept feeling that I was missing out on a cathartic experience. I don't know why it happened. I have been going through a particularly awful time since March, probably the worst ever, but I don't know that it was sufficiently different from previous times to explain this new problem. The psychologist at the hospital mentioned something about the need to relax enough to cry, to be comfortable enough to "let myself" cry. But I don't think that this was necessarily the case. It is possible, however, that consciously trying too hard to cry gets in the way. I seem to have regained my tears now *bigtime*, which on some levels is not a good thing, but it was driving me crazy to be without them. Unfortunately I can't explain why I lost the ability and why it came back. It may have had something to do with medication - I was put on an anti-psychotic in around March - but I really don't know. It may go again. Your post suggests that you have never been able to cry - or at least not for a very long time - so I don't know how much this helps. My partner says that he hasn't cried for many years, and this sometimes bothers him. Chronic inability to cry may be caused by numbing emotional conditions (depression or PTSD) or a range of physical problems, so the problem might remit when the underlying cause is resolved but I don't know how you would go about "learning" to cry again. Maybe you could mention the problem to your doctor, just to check that there is nothing obviously wrong (other than depression) that they can fix. Other than that, maybe experimenting with some different emotional stimuli, to see what happens (music, films, poetry). I appreciate this may be difficult if you are feeling emotionally low and stressed about the non-crying issue, though.
  14. Another sufferer from long-term treatment-resistant double depression. At least I was when I cycled between major and moderate depression... Now I seem permanently stuck on major :( I can only echo everyone else's advice. As far as medication goes, polypharmacy with a combination of standard anti-depressants and atypical ADs or anti-psychotics seems recommended. I am currently on mirtazapine and quetiapine. I have read about ECT and VNS but haven't been offered any surgical or mechanical interventions; they don't seem to be used much in the UK. Incidentally, I recently saw a psychiatrist who doesn't believe in treatment-resistant depression and got quite annoyed with me for suggesting such a thing. Apparently the idea that nothing has worked in nearly 16 years is a flimsy and ridiculous basis for doubting that things might not work in future. I have read that double depression, more than any other mental health diagnosis, is particularly characterised by hopelessness, which obviously makes any treatment more challenging. Also, my instinct is that the basis of your depression - genetic, circumstantial, clearly understood or perversely random - will affect the prognosis of any treatment. If the root of your depression is chiefly biological (or perceived as such), it seems likely that biological interventions will be more useful.
  15. Emphatically so. Although, when I just came to write down everything that has happened to me, I can't decide whether my life has been ruined by depression or whether I am depressed by the ways in which my life has been ruined. An unholy combination of the two, I think. I was shy, socially awkward and insecure at the age of four or five, which led to difficult interactions with others and then to bullying, which led to more insecurity and possibly early depression, more bullying, greater isolation and increasing divergence from everyone else. Which led to more bullying, anger, nihilism and eventually definite clinical depression, dysfunction and suicidal thoughts. Which led to more social isolation, inability to work, a severe depressive breakdown at college and then a horribly stressful, lonely and unproductive depression throughout university. Which left me utterly exhausted, completely lacking in confidence, with no coping skills, no job skills and no faith in life or humanity. *Which* led to terrible difficulty finding and adjusting to work, and spending far too many years in a part-time job (which led to far too many years living with my parents). It also led to terrible difficulty in relationships, and spending too long in a situation that wasn't working for me, both of which contributed to dysthymia and recurrent major depression. Which led to more unsuccessful relationships, both romantic and otherwise, a very unstable and unhealthy social identity (which eventually collapsed under the weight of my mistakes) and a whole series of deeply terrible decisions, the results of which I cannot now repair. All of which led to more frequent depressions which led to greater isolation, hopelessness and regression to former levels of shyness. *Which led to* being in my mid-thirties, major depression since 2009, long-term sick leave, being on the brink of losing my job (and not being able to get another), a troubled relationship in which I am eroding my partner's sanity by the day, and a regret of almost everything that I have done and everything that has happened to me, ever. Oh, and a terrible, profound, visceral sense of shame for who I am. Mustn't forget that. So I do consider my life ruined - both by depression and in a hugely depressing way. I was intelligent enough to go to Oxford and yet I have achieved less as a person (however you measure that) than almost anyone I have ever met. I have missed out on so many normal human experiences and so much healthy emotional development and growth - much more than anyone seems able to understand or accept, and more than I can ever repair. I am the most broken person I know... on this forum or anywhere else. I say my life is ruined but in fact it never really started. I was stillborn.
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