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3eeladium

Any Advice?

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Hi there,

I am new to the group and am hoping you guys can offer some advice. I joined this group because I’m looking for coping mechanisms beyond medication when it comes to my version of depression. 

I get in a place where I am faced with a decision or something occurs and then I will get anxious, contemplating every single possible outcome and then thinking about every outcome that could come from each one of those outcomes and before I know it, I’m spiraling and have convinced myself that I am no good and need to just spend the rest of my life in bed. Does anyone else experience this kind of anxiety that leads into depression? Like something bad happens and you are convinced that life is not worth it and you have no future? If so, how do you cope with it? I want to avoid any antidepressants as I have been on them in the past and suffered horrible mental withdrawal symptoms when I didn’t have it for a couple of days. 

What helped you?

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I believe David Burns' Feeling Good Handbook has a section on decision making.  Exercise is a good way to keep anxiety at bay.   I get what you are writing and it must be very difficult 

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Welcome new friend to our forum.

My awareness of the nature of depression helps.

I see depression as a natural formation / resource.

I invoke a cave metaphor to strategize a way out of the deep, dark , dangerous depression abyss.

We all have unique perspectives on depression and you'll find meaningful support with us.

We all try to help each other as best we can.

Oscar

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@3eeladium

Hi and welcome to the Forums,

    I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this kind of anxiety.  Although I am not in your shoes and wouldn't want to trespass on the uniqueness of your experience, I think I could say with some truth that I have experienced something similar and more than once in my life. 

    Someone has already mentioned the book by David Burns which helped me a lot.  Another book that helped me with anxiety is called "The Worry Cure."  I cannot remember the name of the author now.  I am not trying to give the authors free advertising or anything because there may be books better than these, but these are books that helped me personally.

    Sometimes a life goal can bind anxiety by making everything else secondary.  For example, I know a woman of very modest means who spends a lot of time on the road.  When she's out she often encounters little boxes on counters in gas stations, restaurants and stores:  boxes seeking money for various charities.  She makes a point of always giving something to these charities.  During hard times she can only give a few pennies.  Her "mission" in life is to try to help people from all over the world . . . to make the world a better place.  This has become a life goal for her.  Her life is dedicated to helping others.  Of course like everyone she suffers various misfortunes and mistakes.  But these don't really bother her because she is so focused on helping people.  This "focus" binds her anxiety.   It places a kind of hierarchy on her values and frees her from many worries.

     I find that having a life goal helps me a great deal and binds my anxiety too.

     Another approach is this.  Many people get stuck in a "could be better but isn't better frame of mind."   I have been stuck in this frame of mind myself.  It causes one to look at oneself, others, things in the world and decisions and always think "could be better, but isn't better."  For example . . . I could always say . . . I could be more brave, more careful, more successful, more neat, more diligent, more wise, and better than I am, but I am not."  But there is a whole other way of looking at things:  "could be worse, but isn't worse."  This is a kind of calming frame of mind.  I could be less courageous but I am not less.  I could be less ambitious and careful, but I am not less.  I could less wise and less moral but I am not less.

     On a different point . . .A psychiatrist told me this story.  He had a patient who was a student and was always worried about her grades.  Once this girl got a poor mark on her report card and was in a very low mood.  She told the psychiatrist:  "I am not a good person.  I should have been more diligent and ambitious.  My poor grade shows the real me; someone who is defective and not good."  So the psychiatrist said this to her:

     "There have been a few men in the last 100 years who are responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of people in concentration camps and through forced starvation programs and genocide.  Have you caused the destruction of tens of millions of people?"  The girl told the psychiatrist "no."  So the psychiatrist asked:  "Have you caused the destruction of a million people . . .a hundred thousand people . . .ten thousand people . . . a thousand people . . .a hundred people?"  The girl told me "no."  So the psychiatrist asked:  On the scale of good and bad where the worst is destroying the lives of tens of millions of people, where does your failure of get straight A's on your report card stand and how does it compare?" 

     He then asked her.  In the future if you get poor marks on your report card, how 'bad' will that be on the scale of good and bad where the worst is the destruction of tens of millions of people?"  "Or," he said, "if you fail at many, many things in your life to come, will any or all of your falls, misfortunes and mistakes be of the magnitude of destroying the lives of tens of millions of people?"

     Sometimes when we are anxious or in a low mood, we lose perspective.  I know a person who thinks it is the end of the world if he does not get the best parking spot at the Mall or if he doesn't get the shortest line at the supermarket checkout counter.

     If you are interested, there is a short 2 minute 57 second YouTube video entitled "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by one of the world's leading authorities on anxiety and stress.  Anxiety has a useful function in the animal world.  It helps when a creature is facing a matter of life or death, such as starvation of fleeing a predator.  But primates have created another kind of anxiety and stress:  social stress.  And we human beings seem unable to distinguish between real matters of life or death urgency and artificial ones.

     Anyway . . .  I could be wrong about what I have written, so I hope you get lots and lots of response to your post!   - epictetus

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4 hours ago, 3eeladium said:

I get in a place where I am faced with a decision or something occurs and then I will get anxious, contemplating every single possible outcome and then thinking about every outcome that could come from each one of those outcomes and before I know it, I’m spiraling and have convinced myself that I am no good and need to just spend the rest of my life in bed. Does anyone else experience this kind of anxiety that leads into depression? Like something bad happens and you are convinced that life is not worth it and you have no future?

If all your imagined outcomes are bad, then this is called catastrophizing. It's an irrational way of focusing on the worst that could happen, no matter how improbable, and discounting all the neutral or positive outcomes. One way to deal with it is to write down all the outcomes you can think of and then to rank them on how likely you think they are. This brings you back to reality.

On the other hand, if your mind is just racing over a zillion possibilites and you get overwhelmed, that sounds like a more organic anxiety problem. Anxiety and depression are terrible twins who feed each other with negative, unrealistic thoughts. One approach is to interrupt the thoughts with exercise. Another is to practice mindfulness, which is focusing on here-and-now and calmly releasing other thoughts when they intrude.

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I went years without pills or therapy. During this time I went the zen route with lows. Realizing that depression is a part of me, but it is not me and knowing it will end eventually. I let it rage within me and really didn't fight it. Though I did analyze the thoughts and asked myself how close to reality is this thought.

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