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anxiousE

Question-what do your better moods feel like?

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Might I ask a question? (no, that wasn't it. wink.gif ) For those of you diagnosed with major depressive disorder or identify with unipolar depression, what do your good days feel like? Do you ever experience racing thoughts due to too much excitement or anxiety? do you sleep less than when depressed (for instance, when depressed I can sleep up to 13 hours and still feel tired), ...

I'm just curious what normal is supposed to feel like. Does anyone really know?? Like I said (in the how are you feeling right now thread), I'm beginning to feel a little down now, but this is getting to my "baseline". Like, I started treatment at around this level (a lower level).

Thanks!

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Hi AnxiousE,

     What a great question!

     When I have been depressed [and at one point I was hospitalized for very severe depression] my basic mood was stuck on this idea and feeling:  could be better but isn't better.

    I could be better than I am but am not better.  Other people could be better but are not better.  My situation could be better but is not better.  Everything could be better, but is not better.

     When I was depressed, I was incapable of "feeling" appreciative or feeling lucky or grateful. 

     When I emerged from my depression I began to see that things could be worse, but were not worse.  I could be worse.  People could be worse.  Situations could be worse.  Everything could be worse, but was not worse. 

     This kind of thinking was not possible to me when I was ill with depression.  Of course I had moments of appreciation and gratitude, but these disappeared quickly in depression.

     When I was depressed I could be affected by news of a plane crash.  I could not see that every day thousands of planes taken off and transport tens of thousands of people safely to destinations. 

    When I was depressed I could be affected by news of violence at a school but I could not see that every day more than a billion students go to school and do not commit acts of unbelievable violence.

     It is difficult to put into words, but every single thing in life can be looked at in two ways:  'could be better but isn't better' and 'could be worse but isn't worse'. 

    Very happy people seem to have a tendency to always look at things and think: well, could be worse but isn't worse, thank goodness.  Their default mood seems to be gratitude and appreciation.  In my depression I could not access these feelings and moods.  I just could not. 

     Perhaps "normal" is a range of thoughts and feelings where a person has some balance between seeing things as "could be better" and seeing things as "could be worse" and easily moving between the two perspectives.  I don't know. 

     That I could not appreciate or feel gratitude for long during my depression . . . I don't think that was because I was a bad person or anything.  Depression is an illness.

    Some say it is a neurological illness with psychological symptoms.

     I literally could not feel appreciation for any length of time when I was depressed.  The more depressed I got the less moments of appreciation I felt and the shorter the duration of those times. 

    When in the psychiatric hospital I couldn't feel even an atom of appreciation.  In a moderate depression I was like:  the sun exists but I can't see it.  In my severe depression I was like:  the sun does not exist and there is only darkness.

    Coming out of my depression was an experience of being able to feel, to really "feel" appreciation again.

     I appreciated myself and others and the world in general.  My life became more balanced between "could be better" and "could be worse."

     I gained perspective.

     Once a little girl who was depressed told me she was the worst person in the world because she did not get straight A's in school and that she did not deserve to live.  This little girl had lost her perspective. 

     There have been a couple of men in the last 100 years who were responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of people through forced genocide. 

     Now this little girl had not destroyed tens of millions of people, or millions, or hundreds of thousands, or thousands, or hundreds and so on. 

     She "felt" that not getting straight A's was morally equivalent to destroying tens of millions of people.  That is the kind of lack of perspective I experienced in severe depression.

     Not lacking perspective is what perhaps is "normal."  I think it is not a point on a line but a range of points.

   Of course I could be wrong.  I have often been wrong about things and I am sure I will make mistakes in the future too. 

    I can only share my personal experience.  Others have other experiences.

     On a personal note, I am so sorry you are feeling down right now and are having these experiences you describe.  Sure hope things improve for you! 

- epictetus

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Hi yes,  could say that a good day is when I don't feel under attack,  you know,  when the relentless pressure is off 😎.  I guess feeling more normal maybe.  I'm on about day 40 odd off starting prozac so I guess early days yet.  Currently some evenings are a little less pressured that mornings.

My sleep pattern is bed early at 10;30,  probably wake up with anxiety 2 or 3 times in the night,  try to get out of bed before 9,  and yes feel like I've run a marathon in the morning so wake up tired.

tt

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1 hour ago, sober4life said:

Well the one thing I always wondered is are my bad days so bad that the manic days are just the normal days.  I feel so much better that maybe normal seems manic.

Exactly! Same here! Except that I've had really really bad days and my typical low mood isn't bad like that.

Gah! Sorry your low moods are so bad! *hugs

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Thanks @Epictetus Great answer! Could be better could be worse balance. I truly can see that. Since my "baseline" right now is a little more leaning on the could be better side, I probably have not as often reached that balance. So yeah, as I said to @sober4life , I often wonder if my highs are just normal...

But yeah, I have the racing mind stuff and anxiety to get things done, which I also think Sober suffers from. So I dunno. Thanks for appreciating my question though! And thanks for sharing your thoughts! 

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39 minutes ago, twotone said:

Hi yes,  could say that a good day is when I don't feel under attack,  you know,  when the relentless pressure is off 😎.  I guess feeling more normal maybe.  I'm on about day 40 odd off starting prozac so I guess early days yet.  Currently some evenings are a little less pressured that mornings.

My sleep pattern is bed early at 10;30,  probably wake up with anxiety 2 or 3 times in the night,  try to get out of bed before 9,  and yes feel like I've run a marathon in the morning so wake up tired.

tt

Thanks and hugs to you! Sounds like your depression is anxiety related?? I too suffer anxiety, but for me it seems I get more anxious when I'm beginning to feel  better, like I don't deserve it or something. I dunno. But yea, I can see how taking the pressure off can make you feel better, and lighter. 🙂 Day 40ish of Prozac eh? Yeah, give it a little more time, but hopefully you'll start to feel much better real soon! I actually also relate to waking up tired. Sometimes its from anxiety, but mostly its because of just waking up for bathroom or waking up to disturbing dreams and the worst tired feelings were when I was knee deep in the depressive episode. 

Best!

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@anxiousE,

My depression lacks the manic element.  When I’m in a depressive period, it feels awful but also feels very familiar & “normal” in a very sick way.  I lose perspective completely of what my baseline is.  When depressed, it’s very difficult for me to remember what feeling good or “normal” feels like.  Can’t seem to conceptualize what that’s all about.

My better moods are just a near-absence of depression.  I’ve said that, to me, “normal” is the inability to remember exactly how bad depression can feel.

Edited by adamrparr

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@Epictetus that is a very good description!    The other thing is what @adamrparr said ...

2 hours ago, adamrparr said:

I’ve said that, to me, “normal” is the inability to remember exactly how bad depression can feel.

When I am doing well, I just deal with whatever is going on in my world -- good or bad.  What is missing is the 'thinking about thinking about all of it'.  If that makes sense.   🤔

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My good moods only last for a minute or two. I don't enjoy much of anything and if I do have a happy moment I laugh giggle to myself.

Edited by watalife

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43 minutes ago, watalife said:

My good moods only last for a minute or two. I don't enjoy much of anything and if I do have a happy moment I laugh giggle to myself.

I'm sorry watalife! I have had moments where I can relate to that, feeling like my happiness won't be appreciated by those around me because maybe they're in a bad mood or have been upset with me or might just think what I find happy/funny to be stupid and ill laugh on the inside...but I'm sorry you have to always go through that! Bleh! If it helps any, you can laugh at me, er...i mean with me! (Or both. Just be sure if you're laughing at me that I'm laughing too. ;) ) 

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I like to compare mental health to physical health. When someone is sick they will rest, take medicine, drink lots of fluids and vitamin c to get better. When people are healthy they can choose to exercise and eat right.

I think when people have a good day they should still remember the things that helped them get to that good day and not forget about them.

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Thank you @anxiousE, hugs to you too,  I know how dabilitating anxiety can be and wouldn't wish that on anyone.  My experience is that anxiety and depression are two sides of a coin to me,  usually kicked off by anxiety with life events.  If this becomes too intense,  depression can follow and has done cyclically in my life.  The anxiety stays during depression. Going back to ancient history,  I was brouht up by v. anxious parents,  so maybe  that's learnt behaviour?

In between,  I've had a relativly normal life and I can really relate to @adamrparr comment .  I remember someone at work asking me what depression was like,   I was well and couldnt really describe it to them.  

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@twotone yes, I grew up with anxious parents too, or at least one of them. I feel like I tried so hard not to be like that and yet it happened anyway. But oftentimes, my anxiety leaves when I'm depressed and so in a sense, there is relief...then I suppose it reappears but maybe that's circumstantial.

I wouldn't go as far as to say I couldn't describe depression myself, because I've experienced it enough to know it well enough, but to remember and "feel" it to the degrees that I've had, that's a bit different maybe. I dunno. I still tend to remember the negative most of the time, even when happy it's always in the back of my mind, but I chose to ignore it easier, maybe. Hmm 

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Good day?! What good day?! 

Haven't had a single day that is good for the past 2 years. Every day feels like surviving Bosnian War+Fukushima Disaster combined.

Every single day without exception, no lying.

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1 hour ago, iWantRope said:

Good day?! What good day?! 

Haven't had a single day that is good for the past 2 years. Every day feels like surviving Bosnian War+Fukushima Disaster combined.

Every single day without exception, no lying.

*hugs Rope! Hope things start looking up for you real soon! 

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I don't really have good days either.  My manic days are just desperate days.  The bad days are days drowning in the ocean.  The good days are me jumping up with all of my stength trying to gasp for air and for some stupid reason try to survive this nightmare.

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Mine feel euphoric. Like I'll never be sad again. Everything seems right in the world, and I wonder why I'm so sad and unmotivated the rest of the time. I promise I'll be more focused and conquer my demons, and I really mean it...until it wears off and I'm back to "normal". I don't get them as much as I used to. It's nice to have a natural high, even if it's not very useful since my thoughts are racing and I'm impulsive and too giddy to get anything done. 

One time I thought I was having some "grand revelation" and went inside to write this long, rambling poem with all my "deep thoughts." I read it later and realized it made  no sense and sounded crazy. 

I do have good moods that aren't manic in nature, but it's dependent on outside factors: days where everything seems to be going right, I'm surrounded by people I like and we're all getting along and happy (usually holidays or get-togethers), or I've gotten an amazing sleep and feel particular great that day. Those are the best, but of course they never happen often enough. 

I just thought of something else. One time in college I was feeling particularly relaxed and calm and content, zero anxiety, and I remember thinking, "This is what normal people must feel like most of the time." It was nice to discover what that actually feels like, but I'm so used to be anxious most of the time that it's like background music that I forget shouldn't be there. So, yeah, that's the dream.

Edited by evalynn

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My depression is anxiety-based.  I joke and say my parents 'shot us up' with fear before my siblings and I left the house (as kids), and that it's a miracle any of us grew up to be able to so much as cross the street.  And it's true.  I'm living with my parents now (because of my health), and I see their--well, my father's--anxiety over his age, my mother's age, losing my mother should she go first, both parents' anxiety over the possibility of losing another child to death (my elder brother died over a year ago) -- but they'd just as soon be anxious about how many socks are in the dryer.  I don't take their anxiety lightly; it appears to me, however, that anxiety for them and for me, is a habit.  Fear is a habit.  I learned it.  I learned not to trust that anything will go right; that I'll never be free and happy, that money is hard to come by, etc. and I make a conscious effort to retrain myself, or come here to DF and write and/or read a post which takes me out of myself.  When I'm anxious, I feel hopeless and the curtain goes up for my depression to take a bow.

I find it hard to function with depression and anxiety, so the fact that I'm functioning enough to read this thread and respond is gratifying.  I'm on 300 mg. of Bupropion XL and 75 mg. of Amitriptylin for sleep, because I've had insomnia since  . . . puberty, maybe. 

I take selfies when I feel low---no preening to find the right angle, no makeup--just to be able to go back and see what depression looks like.  Oh, my!  I break my own heart with that s h i t.  But I've seen how it ages the affect--it's amazing really.  And my vanity requires concrete results in anti-aging! 

And that's another flaw in my character: I am NOT a process person; I am result-oriented.  So when I sit down to write and stare at a blank document on the screen and struggle to put the words together -- I become angry with myself, which makes my self-esteem plummet and then I'm inert, and I loathe inertia.

But, I'm blessed to have grown up in a household where music is in our DNA.  All I need do is listen to any "up" music, and my mood is elevated.  I write as I listen and feel GREAT when I've accomplished something.  And when I finish, I find I MUST fill the time with something that makes me laugh.  Until I plummet into anxiety again.  The cyclic nature of anxiety and depression for me, is a process, even at this late date in my adulthood, and process, for me, is a CHORE.

Did that make any sense?

Anyway, I hope this helps a little.

WOTL (woman of the light)

Edited by womanofthelight

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On 2/15/2020 at 6:51 PM, adamrparr said:

@anxiousE,

My depression lacks the manic element.  When I’m in a depressive period, it feels awful but also feels very familiar & “normal” in a very sick way.  I lose perspective completely of what my baseline is.  When depressed, it’s very difficult for me to remember what feeling good or “normal” feels like.  Can’t seem to conceptualize what that’s all about.

My better moods are just a near-absence of depression.  I’ve said that, to me, “normal” is the inability to remember exactly how bad depression can feel.

You and I are experiencing this sh!t in a similar fashion. "Normal" to me is rare...but consists of getting out and doing "normal" things that seem absolutely overwhelming when I am bottomed out. These are things that most people take for granted--shopping, taking the car to a repair shop, picking up my daughter from her job, etc.

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I feel the same way but I live in constant fear.  No matter what has to be done I have to drink enough coffee to get myself through it.  For someone with my condition I'm one bad day from being put away forever.  I have to perform like I'm some circus animal being forced to do it.  My life absolutely depends on it.  It's like a case for the judge is constantly forming and I can't give the people around me anything to use against me.

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2 hours ago, surfcaster said:

my better moods feel like WOW so this is how everyone else goes about the day and i'm happy until i start looking for the dropoff

yeah, i get that!

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