Mental illness is dumber

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TheBlackSheep
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Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:38 pm

So, I'm trying to process this, and I figure with the amount of advice I've dolled out over the years, this is a more appropriate place than some others ("Hi Facebook friends! I am all the depressed!").

So, here's the thing: I got crazy depressed this week. Like suicidal. Like promised my therapist I wouldn't be alone all weekend. I'm safe and all, but it looks like I'll be requesting a leave of absence from school and maybe going down to Vegas for a few weeks to get my head on straight. I am incredibly discouraged, separate from the depression. I thought I was getting better, but over the past school year I have continuously gotten worse. I feel like a failure, because my MSW program is easier than high school but I'm on the director's radar, somehow, because I just can't go to class.

I see my therapist on Monday and my psychiatrist on Thursday (hello, meds! Mind showing up for work?). I'll probably go to classes on Tuesday and Wednesday just for the hell of it, and show up to as much of work as I can. On Monday I'm talking to my boss to either request full-time work (no school plus part-time swing shifts plus depression equals disaster) or to put in my notice.

You guys, depression blows. I swear, if there is a god, I'm going to ask what it's all about.

Anyway, I'm discouraged and whatnot, and I know I'm not the only one.

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Portia
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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:24 am

I'm so sorry. Not having a reliable schedule would be stressful in the best of circumstances. It sounds like it was the straw that broke the camel's back in this case.

Do you have external stressors that are exacerbating your condition? Acknowledging what those are and working to minimize them could help you get over the hump. I know that I thought I was improving after my mom died, then the hating-my-job/dad's-remarriage/brother's faith crisis was like, "oh, hello mental illness, thank you for stopping by." Now that I love my job and am in therapy, it's manageable, even if I'm still anxious by nature. I don't think it's a sign of weakness or stupidity to say that things are hard. It can feel like it's just the cray-cray speaking, but an exaggerated or maladaptive stress response does not mean the stress is not real.

Rather than attributing this or that to God, I like to think of the brain as being adaptive in some situations but not others. For instance, what is considered wild emotional swings could differ in a post-industrial society vs a primitive one. And swing shifts? Our bodies are clearly not adapted to that!

I don't know if it's comforting or terrifying that many creative, accomplished people struggled with depression or personality disorders (Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Tchaicovsky, Fitzgerald ...)

Feeling like a failure, in my opinion, is a symptom of the depression and not true. Making that kind of judgment on yourself is not something you would do to anyone else, TBS.

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bobtheenchantedone
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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by bobtheenchantedone » Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:31 pm

I've been struggling the past few weeks too. On the one had, I've been more consistently motivated, energized, and happier than I have been in years. On the other hand, my mood swings are sharper and more frequent, I've already missed several classes (I miss almost every Wednesday afternoon, most likely due to having therapy on Tuesday), and I've been blessed/cursed with greater clarity that only makes it all the more difficult to get out of depressive moods because I know exactly what happened and that it shouldn't have affected me that way.

I was also just diagnosed as bipolar II and am both afraid of going on meds and afraid that I somehow faked the results of my test.
The Epistler was quite honestly knocked on her ethereal behind by the sheer logic of this.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Emiliana » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:10 pm

I've heard that late January/early February is supposed to be one of the worst times for depression ... certainly seems true around here, huh? I honestly don't know how I'm going to get up and go to work tomorrow. I'm sorry y'all are going through this, too.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:36 pm

bobtheenchantedone wrote:I've been struggling the past few weeks too. On the one had, I've been more consistently motivated, energized, and happier than I have been in years. On the other hand, my mood swings are sharper and more frequent, I've already missed several classes (I miss almost every Wednesday afternoon, most likely due to having therapy on Tuesday), and I've been blessed/cursed with greater clarity that only makes it all the more difficult to get out of depressive moods because I know exactly what happened and that it shouldn't have affected me that way.

I was also just diagnosed as bipolar II and am both afraid of going on meds and afraid that I somehow faked the results of my test.
From what I've read, meds could do a lot of good. And have Marduk encourage you to go to class or something! That can only start a bad cycle.

In what way are you afraid you "faked"?

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Indefinite Integral » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:55 pm

Emiliana wrote:I've heard that late January/early February is supposed to be one of the worst times for depression ... certainly seems true around here, huh? I honestly don't know how I'm going to get up and go to work tomorrow. I'm sorry y'all are going through this, too.
January/February have been bad for me too. I just got off the phone with my long distance boyfriend after getting mad for him when he empathized with me when I said I felt isolated and like I had no friends outside of him. Shouldn't someone empathizing with me make me feel better, not angry? I don't know....my emotions are all out of whack, but I have enough decently good days that I can't quite convince myself to attempt to find a new therapist/counselor.
"The pursuit of mathematics is a divine madness of the human spirit." ~ Alfred North Whitehead

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Portia
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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:28 am

Glad I'm seeing a therapist. My not-boyfriend all but declared his love for me. (Apparently I was a major reason he was horribly depressed after he moved away from Utah the first time. Who knew?!)

Uh-oh.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by bobtheenchantedone » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:53 pm

Portia wrote:In what way are you afraid you "faked"?
I caught myself, at various points in the test, trying to figure out what they wanted/exaggerate an answer. (I also caught myself downplaying answers, so there's that.) I'm also worried because when my therapist told me what a hypomanic episode was I could only remember maybe once or twice I'd had one... and then that entire week I had a classic hypomanic episode. That can't just be a coincidence.

I'm worried about meds because I'm usually depressed (frequently pretty damn depressed) and that hypomanic episode was basically the person I want to be - more outgoing, more focused, energetic, more compassionate even - and meds are supposed to even things out, which in my mind means I'll never be that person again. Right now I think I'm willing to have depressive episodes if I'm also guaranteed a few weeks here and there where I feel like a real person instead of one wrapped in cotton.

But I have to admit something is certainly wrong. I was starting to get rid of my nervous tics, and now I've come up with several new ones as well as reviving some I'd dropped. I am constantly picturing myself falling, occasionally to the point where I feel phantom pains in whatever body part I've pictured hurting in the hypothetical fall. My eating and sleeping habits are becoming erratic. I'm increasingly irritable. And can I mention the mood swings again? They're terrible!
The Epistler was quite honestly knocked on her ethereal behind by the sheer logic of this.

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Portia
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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:02 pm

I should have remembered the advice that someone once gave me that if a guy jokes that he would sleep with you ... he would sleep with you. If a guy jokes that he would have dated you ... he would date you. Still. O_O

Also, I haven't felt this self-conscious about a guy since waiting by the phone, wondering if I'd be asked to prom, ten years ago. I pocket-dialed this guy, and I was so, so embarrassed. The fact that he had all but admitted to having had feelings for me all along just last night made me worried that now I seem clingy or something.

Two friends gave me advice that amounted to, "it could be narcissistic ex post facto justification of his behavior. Or, y'know, genuine." LOL

Relationships are weird. Especially for me.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:47 pm

bobtheenchantedone wrote:
Portia wrote:In what way are you afraid you "faked"?
I caught myself, at various points in the test, trying to figure out what they wanted/exaggerate an answer. (I also caught myself downplaying answers, so there's that.) I'm also worried because when my therapist told me what a hypomanic episode was I could only remember maybe once or twice I'd had one... and then that entire week I had a classic hypomanic episode. That can't just be a coincidence.

I'm worried about meds because I'm usually depressed (frequently pretty damn depressed) and that hypomanic episode was basically the person I want to be - more outgoing, more focused, energetic, more compassionate even - and meds are supposed to even things out, which in my mind means I'll never be that person again. Right now I think I'm willing to have depressive episodes if I'm also guaranteed a few weeks here and there where I feel like a real person instead of one wrapped in cotton.

But I have to admit something is certainly wrong. I was starting to get rid of my nervous tics, and now I've come up with several new ones as well as reviving some I'd dropped. I am constantly picturing myself falling, occasionally to the point where I feel phantom pains in whatever body part I've pictured hurting in the hypothetical fall. My eating and sleeping habits are becoming erratic. I'm increasingly irritable. And can I mention the mood swings again? They're terrible!
Regardless of their origin, the type of depressive episode you describe puts you at a greater risk of suicide, and I am not going to just stand by and say nothing. Be brutally honest with your therapist and yourself, okay?

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:00 am

I literally just can't even.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:20 pm

Portia wrote:Do you have external stressors that are exacerbating your condition? Acknowledging what those are and working to minimize them could help you get over the hump.
They are hard for me to pinpoint, but I'm sure I tried to over-do it last semester. And some of my current relationships trigger the ever-loving stuff right out of me.
Portia wrote:Rather than attributing this or that to God, I like to think of the brain as being adaptive in some situations but not others.
Healthy Black Sheep would totally agree with you. I talk about asking god about it in a tongue-in-cheek way, but current Black Sheep just attributes it to being Broken.
Portia wrote:I don't know if it's comforting or terrifying that many creative, accomplished people struggled with depression or personality disorders (Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Tchaicovsky, Fitzgerald ...)
I think it's both, but then again I've been guilty of romanticizing mental illness in myself and others. Still, I think it's both.
Portia wrote:Feeling like a failure, in my opinion, is a symptom of the depression and not true. Making that kind of judgment on yourself is not something you would do to anyone else, TBS.
As Jenny Lawson would say, Depression LIES. You are both correct. Healthy Black Sheep wants to embroider a pillow with that saying. Current Black Sheep does not give one care.
Emiliana wrote:I've heard that late January/early February is supposed to be one of the worst times for depression ... certainly seems true around here, huh? I honestly don't know how I'm going to get up and go to work tomorrow. I'm sorry y'all are going through this, too.
Oh Emiliana, I'm so sorry. I told my boss about my struggles because she and I have a relationship (we've worked together for years, and I wanted help finding a more ...helpful schedule), and this morning when I texted that I would be a little later than I anticipated, she texted me back telling me to fight my pudding of doom because it wouldn't really kill me. Somehow I found that incredibly comforting.
Indefinite Integral wrote:I just got off the phone with my long distance boyfriend after getting mad for him when he empathized with me when I said I felt isolated and like I had no friends outside of him. Shouldn't someone empathizing with me make me feel better, not angry? I don't know....my emotions are all out of whack, but I have enough decently good days that I can't quite convince myself to attempt to find a new therapist/counselor.
Oh man, have I been there. My poor boyfriend is completely overwhelmed. And finding a new therapist is such a daunting task, no matter how beneficial it might be. And dude, in your case, it could definitely be beneficial.
bobtheenchantedone wrote:I'm worried about meds because I'm usually depressed (frequently pretty damn depressed) and that hypomanic episode was basically the person I want to be - more outgoing, more focused, energetic, more compassionate even - and meds are supposed to even things out, which in my mind means I'll never be that person again. Right now I think I'm willing to have depressive episodes if I'm also guaranteed a few weeks here and there where I feel like a real person instead of one wrapped in cotton.
Dude, bob, I read that and I think your diagnosis is right. That's, like, classic bipolar talking. And that's okay! But give them a chance. Mood stabilizers save lives, and hypomania can graduate into full blown mania, which is scary (if fun) as hell, or so I hear.
Portia wrote:I literally just can't even.
What's going on? And have you discussed the stuff with not-boyfriend with your therapist? That's sort of classical personality disorder work, by the way, so no need to be nervous.

And thank you for the support, everyone. I really appreciate it.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:35 pm

TheBlackSheep wrote:
Portia wrote:Do you have external stressors that are exacerbating your condition? Acknowledging what those are and working to minimize them could help you get over the hump.
They are hard for me to pinpoint, but I'm sure I tried to over-do it last semester. And some of my current relationships trigger the ever-loving stuff right out of me.
Awwwww.
TheBlackSheep wrote:
Portia wrote:Rather than attributing this or that to God, I like to think of the brain as being adaptive in some situations but not others.
Healthy Black Sheep would totally agree with you. I talk about asking god about it in a tongue-in-cheek way, but current Black Sheep just attributes it to being Broken.
Everyone is flawed in some way.
TheBlackSheep wrote:
Portia wrote:I don't know if it's comforting or terrifying that many creative, accomplished people struggled with depression or personality disorders (Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Tchaicovsky, Fitzgerald ...)
I think it's both, but then again I've been guilty of romanticizing mental illness in myself and others. Still, I think it's both.
TheBlackSheep wrote:
Portia wrote:Feeling like a failure, in my opinion, is a symptom of the depression and not true. Making that kind of judgment on yourself is not something you would do to anyone else, TBS.
As Jenny Lawson would say, Depression LIES. You are both correct. Healthy Black Sheep wants to embroider a pillow with that saying. Current Black Sheep does not give one care.
You know how doctors will be like, "what a fantastic tumor!" I feel like saying "what beautiful splitting!" Is that bad? :-P
TheBlackSheep wrote:
bobtheenchantedone wrote:I'm worried about meds because I'm usually depressed (frequently pretty damn depressed) and that hypomanic episode was basically the person I want to be - more outgoing, more focused, energetic, more compassionate even - and meds are supposed to even things out, which in my mind means I'll never be that person again. Right now I think I'm willing to have depressive episodes if I'm also guaranteed a few weeks here and there where I feel like a real person instead of one wrapped in cotton.
Dude, bob, I read that and I think your diagnosis is right. That's, like, classic bipolar talking. And that's okay! But give them a chance. Mood stabilizers save lives, and hypomania can graduate into full blown mania, which is scary (if fun) as hell, or so I hear.
I agree with The Black Sheep.
TheBlackSheep wrote:
Portia wrote:I literally just can't even.
What's going on? And have you discussed the stuff with not-boyfriend with your therapist? That's sort of classical personality disorder work, by the way, so no need to be nervous.
A little sleuthing on the Board and in private messages might clue you in. Impulsiveness, Valentine's Day, vulnerability, and people who have far too much money to blow on seducing me are all involved. (To those who are like, "wow, that sounds fun, Portia," I would counter that while yes, it's fun to be on a constant emotional roller coaster, it's also exhausting and counterproductive to other goals in life.) And YES tomorrow I see my therapist and I have notes!

It is pretty "classic" so I can kind of objectively analyze it but then at the same time I can't control it very well. But I have a lot of good friends on my side telling me some harsh, but true things!

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:21 pm

If you can make yourself go to work and get busy, it works really well. Also, espresso.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:54 am

TheBlackSheep wrote:If you can make yourself go to work and get busy, it works really well. Also, espresso.
I want this cross-stitched.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Digit » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:36 pm

Kind of like Aesop's 'Tis well said, but who will bell the cat?
Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:36 pm

Does anyone who lives with someone who has a mental illness have any helpful resources? Doctors don't operate on family members or themselves for a reason, turns out, and I have one overwhelmed boyfriend.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:16 pm

Well, to use a word I learned from Canadian missionaries ...

That was an unmitigated gongshow.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:46 pm

What happened?

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:46 pm

Narcissism happened.