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Depression - Go with the Flow or Fight it?


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Ok, I am having some depression like symptoms. Primarily that I am lethargic, ambivalent, tired and unmotivated. This has been going on since returning from a trip to visit my family a week ago. I have no desire to clean, work, cook, eat, workout... anything. All I want to do is lay around like a slug, preferably in a quiet and dark room. I am mentally and psychologically happy, not angry or upset or overly worried about anything (well a little worried about $ but nothing too out of the ordinary).

 

So, I have been dragging butt all day and was talking to my friend about it. She thinks I need to kick myself and get out and do stuff, my mind screams "No!! leave me alone in the dark!!" lol. I do want to be back to my perky self, I am usually the one always coming up with activities and cleaning and cooking and running around, I feel bad b/c I haven't cleaned in a week, hubby has been great about picking up the slack.

 

My question is, do I listen to my internal voice that says go ahead and wallow in this, go ahead and get it over. Or do I listen to my friend who says get on out into life honey, you aint never gonna be happy in the dark! ??

 

In the past I've had phases like these and pretty much always muddled through them, giving myself lots of quiet time. But honestly I don't have enough clarity to know if that has been the best choice.

 

What do you think? Should I go out for a walk this evening even though I don't want to? Or should I crawl in bed like I want to?

 

My grandmother used to say, if your body craves something it's b/c it need it, I guess thats why I usually just give in to feeling low, I always get out of it though...

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I do best if I set a reasonable time limit on feeling down. Depending on my reason I give myself anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 months. If I'm still feeling bad at the end of my time limit then I try to help myself, if I can't then I ask for help.

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Physical activity often works wonders when you are feeling down - so try to force yourself to that. I (and a lot of my friends who also do not see their families regularly) often experience dips when I have seen my family, so that's something pretty normal to go through

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I have suffered from depression and general anxiety disorder for most of my life. I can say that it is best to treat it like you are caught in a strong current. If you relax into it, you will be dragged off to sea. If you fight against it, you will quickly become exhausted and drown. It is best to swim away at an angle.

 

So, don't wallow in it, because it will just get worse. Do not try fighting it by going directly back to familiar activities, as they will not interest you enough and you will slump back into the depression. Instead find something interesting you have not done before, something new, and get into it. Basically find a new activity/hobby. It is how I have gotten out of past depressive episodes... and how I get past alot of my anxiety issues.

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A week or so isn't a big deal. I've funked out for periods, and frankly, I enjoyed it. I have an aunt that gave me the same advice as your Grandmom, and it took a big weight off my shoulders as I went on strike, slugged around, ate ice cream in my pajamas and read or watched a bunch of junk.

 

When you get sick of it, you'll know it. You may not bound out of bed to correct it, but you may find yourself taking some quiet walks in fresh air or spending time in a bookstore or cleaning out a closet.

 

Point is, I think we've become too conditioned to reach for a 'fix' for everything, even while some abnorms can serve a very real and important purpose. So pretend you've got the sniffles while enjoying the fact that you're sniffle-free, and indulge yourself a bit--guilt free. Explain to your husband that you'll be back in form soon enough, and offer to support him the same way should he ever wish to go to that place.

 

If you don't find yourself feeling motivated after a while, then reach for Plan B, and push yourself back into a schedule that forces some accomplishment and see if that helps. If a week or so of pushing yourself doesn't take hold and put you back into your usual groove, then huddle with your husband on next steps for a plan of care.

 

One caution--I wouldn't go straight to a physician for meds. Sure, you can get a physical and blood tests, but if she or he recommends an anti-depressant, ask for a psyche referral instead. Regular physicians with some exceptions don't tend to monitor the emotional aspects of depression, only the chemical. If you opt for treatment, go for a specialist who will help you manage 3 things: behavior (including exercise), meds and talk therapy. Leaving potential depression to the care of meds-only is like sitting on a 3 legged stool that's missing 2 legs.

 

I hope you'll write some more if it helps; you can always use this thread to journal for a while. Especially if you've got a sense of humor.

 

In your corner.

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I have suffered from depression and general anxiety disorder for most of my life. I can say that it is best to treat it like you are caught in a strong current. If you relax into it, you will be dragged off to sea. If you fight against it, you will quickly become exhausted and drown. It is best to swim away at an angle.

 

So, don't wallow in it, because it will just get worse. Do not try fighting it by going directly back to familiar activities, as they will not interest you enough and you will slump back into the depression. Instead find something interesting you have not done before, something new, and get into it. Basically find a new activity/hobby. It is how I have gotten out of past depressive episodes... and how I get past alot of my anxiety issues.

 

This is excellent advice. I am going through a low phase right now as well - and though I can recognize it and moderately want to alleviate (only moderately - some parts of me just want to live on my couch). It all comes down to baby steps, if I can do one productive thing a day that I don't feel like doing then that is one step to the good. I think if you wallow in it too much or too long it will consume you.

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To me, it seems as though if you don't nip this in the bud it will only get worse. I've dealt with depression for most of my life and have found that just wallowing and feeling sorry for myself makes me MORE depressed. Get yourself outside, especially on sunny days. Even if it's just for 10-20 minutes or so. The sunlight will help you feel less like a slug and more like a human being. I TOTALLY understand what you're feeling. I've felt like that for the past 5 months or so. I hate even leaving my apartment!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update - I left work after writing this and had a full blown anxiety attack at the metro station that left me immobilized for an hour, I finally took a cab home and took the Wednesday off, Wednesday night I had another severe anxiety attack. I tried to go into work on Thursday but kept on breaking down into tears, I talked with my BFF and she told me to go home. I called my mom and she told me to go to the hospital (sounds severe but you'll see later why it was appropriate).

 

The thing is, I had a breakdown a year and a half ago and was diagnosed bi-polar, I did not receive very good care and stopped taking my medications about a year ago. I've tried to get back on meds but have had a real problem getting a psych appointment.

 

Well, I went to the hospital and the psych doctor problem is so pervasive, that the triage nurse asked me if I was there for refills like they saw it multiple times a day. I later learned that they do, and in response to this the hospital had just opened up a psych med and outpatient counseling center. I was able to secure an appointment for the next morning and spent last week getting over this breakdown and adjusting to my meds, I returned to work today, much slower than usual, but at least I'm here.

 

When I was first diagnosed bipolar I didn't really believe it and didn't think I needed medication. Now I know I do and even though I don't like it I am ready to take a pill for the rest of my life to help ensure that I never have a breakdown like this again.

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ME, I am glad that you decided to seek help and to go back on your medication. The situation that you described in your OP is quite different (feeling down) than suffering from depression due to a chemical imbalance such as BP.

 

Glad that you are feeling better

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