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Steve85

Depression & Mental Illness

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I suffer from depression. I am pretty apprehensive just putting it out there. But it feels like it's important for me to talk about this issue. To see that other people may be going through or have experienced the same thing, and mostly just to get this out of my head out into the open. 

From what I can tell, I've gone downhill mentally for the last 5 years and have  previously managed to get myself out of dark places, until very recently, when several factors combined to really stop me in my tracks. 

I should point out that I have never wanted to harm myself or to kill myself, not once did these seem like viable options for me. Rather, i suffered from lethargy and apathy. I really, really struggled to get out of bed, to engage with my children properly (I always looked after their well being, every single shred of my motivation was used to further my career and to try to keep going. Having depression doesn't mean you always try to throw yourself off a bridge every chance or jump in front of traffic. It has other forms of depleting you and making life feel like one big chore. 

I have felt for a very long time that life was just one very hard slog, almost like moving through knee deep water. It just seemed too hard to be possible to be happy. I really struggled to motivate myself to do anything on the weekends and always took shortcuts where I shouldn't have (dumping kids in front of TV for example). For me I felt frustrated and angry and just annoyed generally with the state of my immediate world and that of the world in a broad context. I found myself getting angry at things I can't control and annoyed that no one else cared for it either.

I am currently on a very low level dose of anti-depressant and am engaging a physiologist for assistance. These have teamed to help me to understand that the way I think and the severity of my own personal monologue (or voice in my head) is not normal and is rather destructive. While i try very hard to nurture and to assist other people who are learning or need assistance, I would be ruthless on my own efforts at life and where i would tell a colleague or child to keep trying and watch their progress as they improve, if I made the same errors I would be brutal in my own mind, telling myself I was not worth the time and bother that I was putting into the activity. 

I guess I wanted to put this out there, to let other people know that even though everything looks perfect in my life on paper, sometimes it isn't that easy. If anyone else suffers through these types of things, please feel free to comment here, tell us your story and try to help change attitudes that depression is somehow your failing and you are at fault. Sometimes things just happen and we don't deal with them in the best of ways. 


Of course, if you prefer, you can DM me here (i'm not a counselor or anything, I work in IT, but I can listen and don't judge) sometimes people just need a friendly ear.

 

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Good on you for starting this.

I'm pretty sure that I don't have depression, but I can tell you that even for those of us who don't, the struggling through knee deep water feeling can be there anyway. It can't be easy if you have an internal voice nagging at you at the same time.

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4 minutes ago, GTSBoy said:

the struggling through knee deep water feeling can be there anyway

100% we all struggle at some point. I'm just hoping to raise a little awareness that it can and does happen. The change in my thinking and my energy levels over the last one month (that's how long I've been on medication) has been incredible. 


I'm just hoping to give a platform to conversations about this topic. I know if I had done more reading, or had known the symptoms better, I might not have resisted seeking help so long. I was actually pretty afraid to actually tell my GP I thought i had depression, my thinking was "if I don't say it, it's not there". Obviously this is not helpful thinking and is in fact not my experience now having actually gone and got some assistance. 

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Well done for having the courage to start this thread.  There is another Australian based performance orientated forum that has some very deep conversations on similar matters.  There is a lot of sharing and advice that makes one recognise that they are not alone.  Experience is showing that there should be a limited access subsection for discussion on such matters to limit public exposure (trolls and vindictive people etc).  Certainly it is a very healthy discussion to have. All the best.  Lincoln.

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7 minutes ago, LWO said:

(trolls and vindictive people etc)

I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought of this, but I deemed it too important to not say anything. My online persona is what it is, I can always start again online with new email and logins. I really want to see these types of things discussed out in the open. And as someone who has actual experience in this, it seemed like I should create this post to show that it isn't wrong to discuss things like this, it isn't wrong to say "i'm not always ok". 

I just hope that someone looks at me, and says "that guy has a good job, good family, awesome cars, but he also had depression, maybe it's not a big deal if I do too." I just want to make sure people know it's not uncommon and it's not something they should hide all the time. You're allowed to say, i've not been happy lately in life, I could use someone to talk to. 

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Meh, not uncommon.

Buying a GTR was a major mistake and has put me in somewhat of a downward spiral, although i f**king love the car and its epic, but that doesnt really help a dire financial situation

but there is light at the end of the tunnel

i think the smarter you are the more prone you are to such things.

we become more cognizant of things & life itself as we grow older and it can become overwhelming

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Meh, not uncommon.

Buying a GTR was a major mistake and has put me in somewhat of a downward spiral, although i f**king love the car and its epic, but that doesnt really help a dire financial situation

but there is light at the end of the tunnel

i think the smarter you are the more prone you are to such things.

we become more cognizant of things & life itself as we grow older and it can become overwhelming

I agree it is common. What isn't quite as common is people (particularly men) discussing it, sharing their experiences. Helping each other through it.

 

Sorry to hear your gtr is ruining your finances and isn't helping your situation. Downward spirals are no fun. If you need help reach out. You can alway hit me up. We can share GTR stories!!!

 

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Mate youre not alone.

I think the reality is , that it is normal to go through highs and lows.

And you're right, no one wants to talk about it mate, it's an ego thing.

Everyone is obsessed with making out their life is perfect, so we think our own isn't.

Well it's natural to be imperfect. It's natural to make mistakes. I think simply enjoying the present and not thinking to far into the future or what others have is key, we are all awesome in our own way.

 

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Start up a fitness program.

Doesn't need to be in a gym.

Doesn't need to be crossfit yo.

Doesn't need to be marathon man.

Just needs to be you getting your heart rate up.

Mixing up my training programs has always been my go to for stress.

Also, clean up your diet, dump sugar and cut back on alchol.

Start with a daily 5 minute brisk walk if your fitness is non existent, add 1 minute to it every week.

If your fitter, then test and adjust.

Don't go bull at a gate though, start small for the win.

And yes you have time, if you have time to watch TV, you have time for fitness and health.

Speaking of TV, stretch while you watch TV, stretching, meditation and calming tunes will do wonders for you head, and your body will love you.

 

Rock on

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I'm with @mlr on this, start gymming 1st thing each day. Get into a rhythm and yeah it might be hard waking up early, hitting the gym when there aren't any hot bitches to look at but remember why you're there. You're working your mind and body.

Break habits, such as fap time and porn. Stop playing computer games, go walk your dog/cat to the park (No wife or kids). Whilst doing this, don't touch your phone (No SAU, no FB, no Insta), focus on enjoying your day and appreciate life.

It all starts with small habit breaking things, but remember you're never alone :)

Next thing you need to do is go to Tomorrowland in Boom, Belgium. 

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Must also add, working in IT (with devs, dev ops, infra, etc.) doesn't help. They're the most negative karnts on the planet.

The only semi positive IT pricks I've worked with are those working in digital/media agencies because all they do is drink all day or rack up lines of coke.

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10 hours ago, mlr said:

Start up a fitness program.

This is probably the only reason why i have managed to not fall into this trap a long time ago. Living inner city, I go everywhere on my bike. It really does help. Going outside, getting some sunshine and exerting energy into activities makes a huge difference to my mental state. 


I have made some serious changes (not just taking medication and hoping). This list of changes is going to make everyone roll their eyes, but I couldn't see it before, i didn't know why I was struggling. I am changing:

  • My diet, it's not that my diet is bad in terms of the actual food I eat, but the frequency and regularity. I never have had the underlying "requirement" to eat. I just don't get hungry often and would rather spend time doing other things than eating. I have started to eat 3 square meals a day. Real meals at regular times, regardless of my feeling of hunger. Previously, I would often skip meals or move meal time around during the day.
  • Cutting down on screen time after hours. I am trying to put my phone down and leave it down after 5pm. I try to spend as much time as I can hanging out with my children, they are a great distraction and require your full attention for playing. 
  • And most importantly I feel, is sleep time. I previously would have real trouble going to sleep and would often mess around on my phone until 3 or 4am then rise at 8am (yep, i see now why that might be difficult). I am now going to bed before 10pm every single night and have a book by my bed (it's about GTRs) I read up to 40 minutes, then lights off close my eyes try not to get up or turn on the lights again. I'm now getting at least 7 or 8 hours a night and getting up in the morning isn't a physical and mental challenge. 

I know that these point make me look like a lunatic. I know that you are probably all (me included) thinking: "well no doi, you were having trouble". The thing is, i didn't see it then, I didn't quite understand that all these factors were adding up and causing me problems. I have made some pretty serious errors above, but i am trying super hard to fix them. I was concentrating so hard on other factors (career, family etc) that I couldn't tell that my own shortcuts were one of my biggest problems. I really thought that i was just going through a rough patch and somehow, possibly magically everything would come good without me having to change anything. It was a real case of me being negative, then making negative choices then feeling bad and being negative again. It just goes round and round.

What I am hoping is that i can start to repair my mindset (a more positive inner monologue), stay on the low level anti-depression drugs for the minimum time required and continue to build a better routine. I'm jumping into this with both feet, I feel if you're going to ask for help, you need to be willing to make change. That's what i'm trying to do, and laying it all out here, helps me by getting it out of my head, but also I would like to think that maybe if someone reads this they might be able to spot the signs of their own down bringing before it causes them much harm. 

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20 minutes ago, Dose Pipe Sutututu said:

Next thing you need to do is go to Tomorrowland in Boom, Belgium. 

I think my Tomorrowland might be a trip to the Nordschleife. (or maybe both?) We have a trip to Germany planned for this time next year, so will be looking to have significant improvements/changes by then. 

 

17 minutes ago, Dose Pipe Sutututu said:

Must also add, working in IT (with devs, dev ops, infra, etc.) doesn't help.

You're absolutely spot on here. I have two jobs (that's a whole thing), one is as a support manager. Ie the go between for clients and Devs. I find devs and dev teams incredibly frustrating. There can really be an opinion that the product they create is life and anyone who says it's not perfect is the enemy. My contract for that role finishes up later this year. As much as it pays really well, i'm looking forward to ending it. 

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My 2c, with a lot of agreement with what others have said.

The key things are: exercise, sleep, nutrition, meditation, medication, therapy

- Exercise helps most people but not all. I find exercise makes me feel worse but this is probably due to chronic fatigue (which is better known as exercise induced fatigue). I partially mitigate by being careful not to go too hard at the gym and getting massages. I wonder how much of this issue is due to medication...But for most people this is probably the first thing to get into and should help.
- Sleep is really important. Make your room pitch black. I've got black tape over anything with an LED to achieve this. Avoid bright lights and screens a few hours before bed as blue light suppresses melatonin production. Caffeine has a long half life, so better to avoid after midday. Even if it doesnt prevent you from falling asleep, it does reduce sleep quality. Check you dont have sleep apnoea.
https://time.com/5189387/dark-room-sleep-study/
- OP mentioned lethargy & apathy - i've heard depression also called a lack of vigour. A little Adderall or Modafinil can help with this symptom, but you'll need a script.
- The biggest mistake with people starting meditation is that they believe that the goal is to not be thinking, and therefore if they catch themselves thinking, they have failed and give up believing they cant do it. The goal is to catch yourself thinking, as you have to realise you are thinking before you can try to stop. After 20+ years, I am still mostly in a trance of automatic thought, occasionally catching myself and entering brief periods of mere observation without thought.
- A lot of therapists suck. Expect to have to churn through some to find someone decent.
- For mild depression medications are about as effective as placebo
- For major depression medications can help, but none are a cure and finding which one is best is found with experimentation
- When you're deep in, sometimes all you can do is wait, and that's good enough

I need to get around to reading this;
https://www.foundmyfitness.com/topics/depression

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2 hours ago, MrStabby said:

The key things are: exercise, sleep, nutrition, meditation, medication, therapy

I absolutely would agree with this statement. Of course finding the balance of these is key.

I really think that the hardest point (it's early though) for me was actually admitting I needed some help.

I've been reading some of these articles on headspace. Even though they're targeted at younger people (teens etc), i'm finding them super useful. 
https://headspace.org.au/friends-and-family/mental-health/

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Everything is interconnected. Gratitude for things in life improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going.


Men (and really, all people) beginning to talk openly about depression, anxiety, and realising it affects everyone in not-so-obvious ways is one of the best trends going around too. Probably beats out the fact that Women looking good is now a fitness question, instead of a 90's rail thin Kate Moss thing, which happened along the way too.

The biggest takeaway I have found through my own ups and downs is - You don't know you're depressed. You just see the world through a lens that twists what you see, hear and feel. Even happy, stable people should talk about their mental state and get a checkup. Think of it like servicing a well running car.

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1 hour ago, Kinkstaah said:

The biggest takeaway I have found through my own ups and downs is - You don't know you're depressed. You just see the world through a lens that twists what you see, hear and feel. Even happy, stable people should talk about their mental state and get a checkup. Think of it like servicing a well running car.

This! 100% agree with you here. It's odd though, as someone whose new to this, it seems so obvious now in retrospect that I was creating some of my own issues and yet I wasn't able to see that I was making it worse. 🤷‍♂️

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Pick up some random activity you wouldn't normally do such as yoga, learning an instrument, cooking classes (not BBQ classes, too blokey).

For me personally, breaking habits, stop trying to help others all the time and being somewhat selfish has improved my mental state.

Being in the service side of IT, you're always trying to help, serve, deliver and meet people's bullshit expectations. That then often transmits into day to day life as well.

Also, go to a skid pan. Somehow that always cheers me up sliding around lololol (cheaper than track days).

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