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  1. Flu or relapse? Quite difficult to tell :( but my head feels like it's full of cottonwool
  2. Ivy_whispers, I also read every word of what you wrote and I really feel your pain and confusion over this. Although, this is not much comfort, I have very similar dreams of dying, struggle with intrusive thoughts, have regular auditory hallucinations and occasional visual hallucinations due to stress related anxiety and depression. I get the impression that a lot bigger % of people experience distortions of reality to some degree or another possibly without realizing it. Certainly raised your concerns with a medical professional if these aspects of your illness are particularly overwhelming or upsetting. Best wishes
  3. Wondering whether it was a good idea to agree to come off meds. I am not sure whether my mood was so volatile before it's too long ago to remember clearly.
  4. I'm wondering what it takes to be happy, when it feels like circumstances are getting better but somehow I just feel more tired and low.
  5. Dear Awm, Your post really touched my heart, it sounds like a very difficult situation to have gone on for so long. The situation can and will improve and suicide is never the only option even if it feels like all other options have been examined for now. I very much agree with Aure that it's important to raise this again with your wife. It could be good to ask her to see a therapist as a couple to explore how you can move on which may be best for both of you no matter how hard that sounds. By actively seeking change and finding ways to get enough support things can become more bearable. It sounds like you're very good friends with your wife and if you can begin to talk about this openly together she could become your best ally in coming to terms the changes that need to happen for you to have a happier life. That's a massive if, it might well not happen and a therapist might be able to help you to come to terms with the feelings that will naturally come with that. This situation can not be dealt with by denial or sweeping everything under the carpet. Keeping such a massive part of your life in the background away from your wife, devalues it and in the end fails to acknowledge that you deserve to live your life to it's fullest potential.
  6. Artemis, These things might vary a lot between individuals but for what it is worth, here's my 2p worth. Before I had effective medication exercise was not so effective as I felt better while jogging (very slowly) but everything came back at full force afterwards and I started cycling downwards even harder from negative feelings about not being fit etc. When I started seeing a therapist, he recommended some exercise but just something light and enjoyable - walking in the country or cycling etc for >30minutes at a rate that raised heart-rate. This really helped as a habit breaker. It was good because there was a need to focus on something physical rather than over-thinking so it was a good break from anxiety and stress. I did berate myself for not being very good at it, but adding some mindfulness techniques helped me not let the negative thoughts take over. Now I'm better medicated, adding exercise has really helped as it is something (unlike the rest of life!) where small achievements can be made regularly to build confidence. After exercise now I feel more energetic, very pleased to have finished and it "resets" something helping me to focus on getting other small things in the day done. I get a lot of benefit from being able to jog a tiny bit as I never could before so it challenges some of the assumptions I had about myself as being not fit/attractive etc. I picked an exercise that is enjoyable (initially just the least of all evils) and found a basic "couch to 5km plan" on the web. This started very gently and if I couldn't do a run for some reason I just tried again and tried not to beat myself up over it. There have been a few false starts, when I've tried to introduce too many habits at the same time due to being a perfectionist. However, I've been most successful just adding one thing - 30minutes run 3 times a week and trying not to obsess about scheduling. Good luck, I really hope you find something that works out for you. x
  7. Malfas, Please do which ever of the first two options you would most like to do! Sounds easy right? Not so. It sounds like you have more positive reasons to try the teaching course, but as you mentioned either would lead you to teaching if you want. Being confident teaching is not the same as being confident in general. I am generally far from confident as a character trait but I love my teaching job. It is much easier for me to be confident teaching because I have a fixed "role" and the students have theirs, I can share my knowledge and feeling useful helps me open up, speak more loudly and engage with people. The students will help you by not all staring at you at the same time and nodding a little etc when they understand etc. I think you'd make a great teacher as you are clearly very passionate about your work. If in the short term, you would prefer the more academic studies, that also sounds like a good option. You could open paths to teaching and doing research at the university which could be very enjoyable. It's not important to directly use your engineering degree immediately - it sounds like your degree has already opened a lot of amazing doors for you so has already been very useful. Getting back into college can be a great opportunity to break isolation, but can be very stressful too so it might be a good idea to discuss your feelings with your GP or a university counselor before starting any course.
  8. Hi All, I've been taking Sertraline (100mg) for nearly 5 months. Most of this time I've had an increased quantity of memorable dreams of a very vivid cinematic nature. I've always had a lot of dreams but these are more intense and I've noticed three things that are odd: (i) Almost all involve sorting, categorising or organising something which is hard if not impossible to do, (ii) All involve a level of tension, worry and anxiety which I no longer experience in the day time and I occasionally "dream I'm having a panic attack" and wake up (although I don't have panic attacks while awake). A typical example would be something like: trying to look after my pet and many other animals try to get into the cage. I try to remove them and place them all in separate cages where they can not possibly increase in number but somehow they continue to escape and get everywhere. Some of the animals are then actually little robots and I have to figure out which ones are real or not as they want to **** my pet, when I break the robots they quickly turn into more smaller and harder to catch robots etc. The robots either get so small they eat the building and I fall (waking up) or they **** my pet and I'm distraught (waking up). Finally, recently I have been dreaming about people from the past and seem to be aware that I'm dreaming while asleep. The events seem very vivid and upon waking for a short period I believe the things that I dream are actually memories. I talk to some people who were on the edge of certain situations who explain to me why I've repressed these memories .While dreaming, I try to make a mental note to remember what happened and tell my therapist - unlike the anxiety lead dreams mentioned above, I can not remember for long periods the extreme details of these dreams. Does anyone else have particularly crazy dreams on Sertraline and does it really matter? I don't particularly want to change meds as I feel fine when awake. Thanks for reading :)
  9. You're doing just amazing!! This is much easier said than done - I crumble when my parents are present - but try to have your own values and goals as parents like this will constantly shift their expectations so you can not meet their expectations. Also, they might mention these things to try to "put you in your place" as they are jealous that you have responded to their pressure by over-performing. Perhaps try reading the book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Will-Ever-Good-Enough-Narcissistic/dp/1439129436/ref=pd_ys_iyr_img. Although I realise that might be hard to hide if you live at home and your parents are very intrusive.
  10. Hi Bluegarden, Great idea :) Depression while not something I'd wish on my worst enemy, has made my relationship stronger. My partner has been amazingly supportive and we've become a lot closer for talking through all that has happened.That said, a couple of my previous relationships ended due to undiagnosed episodes of depression so unfortunately it definitely depends on whether partners understand the condition.
  11. Hi Dobelerone, I've been taking 100mg Sertraline for three months now after taking 50mg for 4 weeks. I found that the first three days were terrible, then for the first month it raised my anxiety a little but not enough to really bother me. When it started to significantly reduce my depression (around the 5th weeks) it caused another week of high anxiety. Now my anxiety is low. As my anxiety as a side affect was only physical symptoms without emotions or thoughts to back it up, I found the side affect anxiety useful to teach me about the relationship between anxiety responses and thoughts. I also prefer to have small up and downs on Sertraline than the clouded emotionless state induced by other SSRIs. If you feel that the rollercoaster is too extreme, definitely talk to your doctor as with the right SSRI hopefully you'll feel "yourself" as well as less depressed/anxious. Best wishes
  12. That's seriously a bit toxic as he's constantly referring back to himself and how much he's done. He seems to be putting the onus on you to resolve something which is outside your control. This is unfair and unsympathetic. I completely agree with LilyRain. Emotional abuse can be hard to spot from the inside as they tell us that it's all our fault in such an indirect way that it seems like an illusion that they are trying to control/emotionally dominate/crush us. From the fragments you've mentioned, he sounds pretty self-centred. Perhaps, he tried to love you but doesn't really understand how to because he was looking for some outside reference as to how to behave. It sounds like he thinks something like "I'm a good person. A good person would not leave her therefore I must stay" so stays despite feeling that he wants to leave (due to being too immature to handle the emotional stress) in order to preserve his self-image. He then feels confused by the situation, responsibility and that standing by you doesn't seem to magically fix anything, so decides to implicitly blame you for the negative feelings that have been generated (becauses he's "good" so can't have brought this on himself). I suffered from someone for 4 years who always made a massive thing about him being last behind of all his other obligations, when in fact he'd emotionally destroy anyone who stood to shatter his illusion that he was the most impressive and important person in the universe. Only his pain was real and mine was worthless we constantly rotated through all possible versions of the above script....
  13. I suffer from the same problem (although thankfully not studying overseas). I cut communication from my parents for quite a while as all they talked about was when I was going to finish. They made such naive and stupid comments about my degree/subject of interest. I felt completely alone and very pointless having devoted so much effort to something that most people belittle and fail to comprehend (mathematics). My mother in particular persists in constantly mentioning when I'm going to graduate, whether I have enough cash to survive, whether I can claim unemployment benefit as I "don't have anything to do anymore as (my) funding has run out". Yes it is that stupid. I was very stressed about whether or not I could stay in academic, a lack of communication with my academic supervisor (we have bearly spoken in 2 years), and obligations to lecture a complicated course for a low wage. My parents fail to understand as I "only" have to teach 4 hours a week... well this is actually about 35 hours work at least when not depressed. When I absolutely had to (I'd just got out of hospital following an overdose), I did tell my parents. My mother said "did it all get a bit much?" and continues to belittle me by trying to get me to move back home so that she can see whether I'm actually working or not. I don't think they can understand any of this. They don't understand that to talk to them takes a LOT of effort and that when I do I might pretend to be ok to stop them tormenting me further. When they found out about my illness, they firstly forced me to act as host while they visited me to reassure themselves. They looked petrified and asked all manner of stupid questions about technical details of whether this would affect my studies/accomodation etc. Basically just reinforcing the pressure. They are scared to mention this to anyone and pretend I have no problems. They now don't call me either in order to distance themselves from the problem. My mother constantly mentions a colleague who I told about this months before the hospitalisation who just laughed at me for saying I was suicidal. She thinks he's amazing, much nicer than my boyfriend, and thinks that he is doing me a favour by trying to help me into a post-doc overseas. In principle he is but everyone seems to be ignoring that he puts a lot of pressure on to finish 3 draft papers, write a new paper with him and finish my phD. Even if this does work out, my mother will think that it is his kindness rather than my hard work (naturally its a mixture). This same colleague, shouts at me and calls me a bad mathematician when I'm so stressed that I make simple mistakes. Sorry for the huge rant, but YOU ARE NOT ALONE. My boyfriend makes a very sensible point when he says "the only thing that matters is what you think about it". It is hard but these people should not be out main point of reference anymore (seriously I'm nearly 30 and still need my mothers approval???) and we should do what we do in our own time. Finally, and most importantly perhaps, the path to PhD is not as straight as outsiders think. Even we explorers might not really understanding the complexity of something. I've had plans to finish "X" in a month which turned into 6 months work, either because I was ill or because the problem has more complicated than anyone anticipated. Be kind to yourself and a remarkable amount will get done, just maybe not what you expected
  14. Hi Bill, How are you doing today? I do feel a bit better today, still a bit dizzy most of the time but a bit better mood wise. :) Today I baked a cake and tidied the flat a little definitely cheered me up :) It does seem we've rather hijacked your thread talking about gardening but that's not a big deal right? The garden sounds like an little personal oasis... I was imagining dessert plants and little lizards/snakes hiding in the flowerbeds! Sounds like your parents were doing really well to keep on top of the gardening. Did they build the houses? Have you thought about writing a short social history of the houses and gardens? Probably there are only a few people who know the story of house and things change so quickly these days it could be interesting to keep a record? I think I agree with BlueThunder all the memories of these things, no matter how small, give you a lot of value and purpose. And for that matter a seemingly never ending list of things to do! I'm not amazing with houseplants. I've managed to keep an aloe vera plant alive for about three years and last year grew some sweet peppers in a pan in the window. Unfortunately everything else didn't make it through the winter as I forgot to water them due to feeling really s***y. For me the best way to escape for a while is to go for a long hike in the hills nearby. Hopefully the weather is good enough for this tomorrow (the UK is having a wet and cold summer). It'll have to stay dry for quite a while longer before I consider camping. Do you like other outdoor activities like hiking/camping etc? Jennie
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