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Hello,

I am a woman in my 50's who has battled depression and anxiety for all of my life.  Back in 2007 I want to counseling and learned a lot of coping mechanisms and thought I was handling things well.  I was able to get a job, work for over ten years, make friends and be happy and free for the first time.

Moving ahead now, I have regressed to the point where I was before I started everything.  I don't know how to recover, i don't know what coping skills to use.  I have lost many relationships and friendships because of my insecurity and possibly paranoid.  My job has suffered, my confidence is so low.  I miss having confidence and having that beauty inside.  

I know when it started, I know what day my depression resurfaced.  It was over a year ago, but I thought I could handle it.  It was in August of 2019.  I had a situation that I was not proud of and it knocked me back.  It was like I could see time reverse.  

I now know that I cannot do this alone.  I know it is time to reach out.  Time to get help because no one should live like this.

Thank you for listening.

Ellie

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My family has a history of depression and anxiety. I had never experienced it until it hit me like a brick wall. It started when I was diagnose with diabetes at 38. It was like my life changed forever and something triggered in my brain. I went to counseling, was prescribed medication but I had a hard time accepting that I might need meds. I have highs and lows. I really hate the feeling of being down. Its physically and mentally exhausting. I found these kinds of forums to help. I definitely would not recommend alcohol. That was my first reaction was to not feel. But that just made more problems and higher levels of anxiety and depression. Reaching out, having an outlet, going to therapy and finding a positive hobby/activity. I like painting and walking. I find that when Im having a really rough time l like to journal. I also would write positive affirmations around my house to reinforce strength and inner calm. Also, saying positive things to yourself, out loud or quietly. I do it all the time when I am struggling. You are strong, you are amazing, you can do this. 

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Peonies,

Depression and anxiety can both be so brutal.  They have woven themselves like dark threads throughout my life.  I think affirmations is a great idea.  One that helps me the most is this one: "Things could be worse, but are not worse, thank goodness."

I have heard and read that certain mindsets are depressogenic. 

Whether from genetics or my environment or both, I inherited a "could be better, but isn't better" mindset.  It darkened my view of myself and others and of things and events in my life and in the world. 

And it kind of became my default mindset.  And of course it is quite true that anyone and anything "could be better in certain ways, but isn't better."

But such a mindset can engender chronic feelings and moods of disappointment, aggravation, anger, sadness, guilt and hopelessness. 

I am not saying that the mindset itself is purely negative. 

Many of the greatest inventions and creations in world history started because someone said:  "could be better, but isn't better" and then did something to make it better.

But pushed to extremes, this mindset can make life miserable. 

And I think it needs to be balanced with a "could be worse, but isn't worse" perspective.

I read somewhere that the "chronic outlook" of "could be better but isn't better" goes by the name "perfectionism."

People whose default attitude is "could be worse, but isn't worse" tend to have engendered in them feelings of appreciation and gratitude, hope, peace of mind and joy of living.

I realize that major depressive disorder is an illness and that it can cause one to literally get stuck and trapped in a "could be better but isn't better" mindset and for which medication can be helpful and life-saving. 

And I was certainly saved by medication.

But these days I have "could be worse, but isn't worse" post-its all around my house, work space and even on my car sun visor. 

When I am feeling low or anxious I ponder the message.

I could be lost in the Sahara Desert without water but am not.   I could be trapped in a burning building but am not.  I could be in a desperately poor hospital with a painful illness and no pain medication available to ease my suffering, but I am not.

I have certainly done things in my life that I am not proud of.  But instead of getting stuck in the "could be better but isn't better" guilt, I think of those men in the last 100 years who sent millions and tens of millions of men, women and children to be destroyed in concentration camps and through forced campaigns of systematic starvation. 

I am not one of those tyrants and so my misdeeds in the past and probably in the future are far, far, far, far away from that kind of thing.

There is also the realization in me that whatever happens in my future, I will still be able to look at it and say "could be worse, but isn't worse."

This helps calm my anxiety about the future.

So I think affirmations can have an important place in a life tormented by depression and anxiety, especially when but not only when it is caused by brain pathology.

I think you are a very heroic person to be struggling against depression and anxiety. 

Those not afflicted with these terrible, terrible maladies will never know how much heroism and nobility is takes to struggle against them.  So I definitely look up to you and think you are model for us all here on the Forums. 

Best Wishes.   Epictetus

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