How to Combat Depression

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I hate chaos, which is weird because most people perceive me as working best in the middle of chaos.  But it’s not … precisely true.  I love the “controlled chaos” of very, very, very busy. My happiest years (except romantically.  I didn’t have Dan yet, and I can’t even imagine that now) were in college, when I was going to school, tutoring AND had a busy social life.

Partly, of course, it’s that I am a depressive and also an introvert.  These two feed off each other, because if I get my wishes, I sit in a room, with my own thoughts, and when they turn to depression, there’s nothing I can do. And the depression feeds the introversion.  The bottom stage of this is me in a dark room both physically and metaphorically.

And my portion of hating chaos can also feed depression, because I can lock myself into a girder of obligations that leaves no room for variation.  So, it’s difficult.

I’ve learned the signs:

Wanting less and less to have people around till in the final stage, I can’t endure MY FAMILY around, and isolate myself even from them.

My work becoming more noise and motion than work.  I am at the computer ALL the time, but nothing gets done.

But I also have “silent depressions” — not as much as my husband, whose depressions are always silent — in which I just channel to the least productive possible things, and feel perpetually out of sorts.

What works:

Forcing myself to go out.  The going out might be just a walk around the block, where I see maybe one person and their dog, but it seems to help.

Sunshine helps.

Weirdly, starting a PHYSICAL project where I have to give it my all and go to bed exhausted helps. (You’d think it didn’t.)

Coming up with a for-the-love project I do in the evenings (and which isn’t too messy, because chaos) helps.

So does taking an hour and a bit before going to bed and just watching something with Dan.

Keeping all of this going is difficult, particularly as my internals tell me we need to be alone and very, very quiet.

Part of the problem is I hate chaos. So in the middle of a protracted self-administered cure for depression, life is upside down and sideways, and that might push me into depression again.

All this to say: My house looks like a construction zone but I’m only mildly depressed and obsessive about the elections.

However, it might be time to bring it all in, put away the paints and resume the writing schedule and the — relaxing — walks.

161 responses to “How to Combat Depression

  1. I hope you find a good solution for this time.

    And that the election results are not depressing.

    • Election results are ALWAYS depressing. Just less depressing than the day to day idiocy of a non-representational government would be.

      The thing to keep in mind, at all times, is that people who talk about making government more efficient are either fools or knaves. An efficient government is an authentic menace. the great merit of representative government is that it is IN-efficient, and thus one usually has the chance to get out of the way.

      The Nazis were not, that God, ver efficient; they just filled out a lot of paper, which is hardly the same thing. Stalin’s and Mao’s governments were comparatively more efficient, which is why they managed to murder (respectively) three times and eight times as many people as the despicable Austrian.

      The Progressive Left wants the government to be efficient because they want to, very efficiently, boss us all around like we were SIMs. The RINO middle babbles about making government more efficient because they have bought into the Left’s laundry list of things Government ought to do, but haven’t yet gotten so delusional as to think we can actually AFFORD all that.

      And, thank Le Bon Dieu, we are beginning to get politicians who actually get elected who understand that the problem isn’t the number of things that the government ought to do that it doesn’t, but the number of things it ought not to do that it does.

      • Just think, if Weimar Germany had strict immigration control, the despicable Austrian would have been deported and kept out.

        • Did Weimar Germany have strict much of anything? My inpression of it was a government so ineffectual and neutered that all KINDS of toadstools grew in the shadows.

          • *wags paw* It is hard to find a good source on the ins-n-outs of Weimar government because everyone fixates on culture and what came after. They were trying so hard not to have another civil war (1918-1919) and to keep the Communists out without ruining Social Democracy…

            • I also have a kind of instinct that the German nationality hadn’t jelled. It isn’t until after the trauma of WWII and having to own what the Nazis did that Germany settled into ‘industrious, serious’. And now they have Merkle (sp?) and the German Left dragging them into the ooze, and are only just beginning to growl.

              It’ll be interesting to see where that goes.

        • I’m afraid not. He got in before the Great War.

          • He could have forfeited that because of the putsch.

            • That’s rather what I was thinking of. And the Austrian regime did a decent job of keeping the Nazis under control*, until England’s stance on Mussolini’s Ethiopian adventure pushed Italy into Germany’s camp, effectively isolating Austria.

              * less their terrorism campaign

      • > efficient government is an authentic menace

        The societ of Frank Herbert’s “Whipping Star” had a government so efficient laws were proposed, passed, and repealed so quickly that the wheels of government started to come off. In response, the Bureau of Sabotage was formed, to slow the processes of government *down*…

      • Of course election results are ALWAYS depressing. Almost every race is won by a politician!

        • I’m reminded of a claim by George Carlin, where he complained about the idea that our politicians are awful. They are, after all, chosen from our general population!

          But someone else pointed out the flaw of this complaint: to become a politician, you have to go through a series of filters, starting with “choosing to run”, and including things like “willing to compromise a certain number of principles to maximize your voter appeal”, which gradually whittle down the types of people who would be willing to run for office. Thus, we don’t necessarily get the politicians we deserve, and there’s really no good way to get around it.

          I, for one, think we need to do a *lot* more to reign in the unConstitutional bureaucracies — the creatures created by Congress, that is populated by people who are appointed by Congress, and presumably approved by Congress (but quite possibly only the heads of these organizations) who, once in power, for all practical purposes cannot be fired, nor have any sort of term (let alone term limits), nor have any other means for the public to somehow “recall” them or remove them from office — but who nonetheless have the ability to create law, define the punishments for that law, and then go and find people violating such law and at a minimum force them into court.

          Unaccountable government bureaucracies are probably the single most dangerous threat to our liberty, although plea bargaining (which effectively nullifies trial by jury), civil forfeiture, zoning laws, and property taxes are pretty high on the list too….

      • At least an openly non representative govt is honest in that. We have a nonrepresentative government that lies about it.

  2. Yeah, as much a struggle as it has been, and the prospects of not having it finished come the snows, exhausting myself roofing has not depressed me as much as I feared. The ADD seems to exacerbate. I have to sometimes force myself to stop staring at the job and . . . dwelling on what’s to come yet
    Final dry-in tonight. Wish the winds were lower, but they’ll be annoying, not the “blows 2×8s away” gusts we had last weekend.
    Luck in keeping the black mood at Bay.

    • Is that a symptom of ADD? I always though when I did that, I was just organizing my brain and priorities so I could do the job better. lol When I go to a screeching halt, it is usually because I’m overwhelmed.

      • It is bothersome when you find yourself standing at the top of the ladder contemplating flashing, or poor design, when you are midway in the trip to grab the patch panel you forgot, and flashing that stupid window design will not happen until you put the panel in, nail down underlayment, and then get roofing in place to flash to. Especially when it is getting on to near dark, and you are racing oncoming rain

        • I used to pick up my shoes to put them on and get lost somewhere else. Don’t even know where. My late-hubby used to laugh when he caught me sitting on the side of the bed with one shoe in my hand and I was gone.

        • After months of hiatus, the contractor finally is getting to the farm-out portion of the solar power project. Started the design last winter, selected the contractor (not hard, only two in the county who do this kind of stuff, and the other one didn’t even return calls), and waited. (Complete with medical adventures, but that’s actually stabilized.)

          Did get the house painted this year, and last week I set off the 30(!) burn piles in the barren area near the barn. This week, I got approval from the county, the contractor should make it next week, with concrete a few days to a week after the holes are dug.

          After that, it’s all me. It’s just complicated enough to keep my brain engaged while working, and physical enough so that I’ll sleep like the dead. The goal is to get the exterior parts done before winter. (Panels, fence for the array, dig the trench and install wires, then get the mess approved before backfill. Once I have wires in the pumphouse, it’s well-rehearsed territory.

          The uncertainty of the hiatus was depressing, and that could have hurt, badly. The health improvements* made it bearable, and knocking out some of the smaller stuff helped. Still, it’s really good to contemplate turning a mass of materials into a working system in fairly quick time. Yay!

          Not sure why, but the only annoying bit of the shorter days is the fact that I have to replace the batteries in the kennel-flashlight more frequently. For many years, I had to fight the funk this time of year, but not right now. Thank you, Lord!

          (*) Eyes improved a lot, right eye needs a final glasses prescription after healing, and its pupil is getting some function. My heart isn’t going to be fixed with the procedure I had counted on, but I seem to be a long way from needing a pacemaker. And, I dropped 10 pounds by cutting back on portions and skipping the chips. I’ll take it.

          TL;DR I’m productively busy and it’s not a train, but the end of the tunnel.

          • I’m dried in. So, even if I can’t get all the steel up there, I am covered far better than last winter. Rain forecast this weekend, I will work a bit inside, and rear up for the adventure of roofing 13 1/2 foot × 38 inch panels by myself.
            I have the 35 feet main roof, and the 17 feet over the kitchen with underlayment. The opposite side of the main roof is done and sealed enough at the chimney . The kitchen and porch portion is in need of a bit of replacements/patching, 3 to 5 (yes, five) layers of shingles removed, but is covered by rubber so support in the attic at the bad spot, and it’ll side winter fine.
            No weight loa for me in all this

          • Oh, and for some reason this only showed up for me today. Though last night is a bit blurry

    • My ADD is way worse too.

  3. I thought at one time that my introversion moved me toward depression. It’s not true for me. I start to get busy and busier until I am overwhelmed. I tend toward anxiety. I know I am on the way to it (and it can get bad) when I start to pace like a caged tiger. Plus the news can push me there quicker.

    • We got news stupidity in the feed on the info screen here at work. CNN does bring the blood to a boil quickly.
      Explains why Nickelodeon has higher ratings.

      • Ugh – they just installed screens set to Global News (basically a Canadian CNN wannabe) in the elevators here.

      • I can’t work with the news on. I couldn’t when I was well and I doubly can’t when I deal with a chronic illness.

      • The contents of Nickelodeon are several orders of magnitude likely to be true than anything seen on CNN (or MSNPC) making it far more preferable.

        • Advantage of working from home, If I have the TV on in the background, I don’t have to be stuck with CNN or other Democratic Party propaganda. Of course it does mean that on days like today, I unfortunately get to see Sporting lose to Arsenal in the Europa League, which is made worse by their (Sporting) having a really off year (5th place) in their domestic league. Of course after last May’s utter fiasco and subsequently losing most of their star players, it realistically is about what can be expected.

  4. All this is great. Now, how do we get the Progressive Left to do any of it?

  5. *reads nothing but the title*

    With a flame thrower.

    No, really.

    Depressed? Go burn weeds with a flame thrower.

    It works!

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Not for the weeds it doesn’t.

    • That is fun! May sure you use diesel fuel so the flame doesn’t run back up the nozzle! My uncle had us do that with the hand-pumped sprayers on a ditch near his house.

    • I’ve been anywhere near a flamethrower so I admit I wouldn’t know, but wouldn’t using one on your yard risk an out-of-control flame?

      Or is starting out-of-control fires specifically your way of fighting depression? Because if it is, you are officially NEVER invited over for barbecue.

      • PS – Yes, I realize you’re probably weeding the yard first and using a proper fire pit. But that wasn’t my first reaction to what you wrote and the vision I had in my head was a lot funnier/scarier.

      • *laughs* No, out of control is not fun.

        It’s a means of controlled burn. You pack the flame thrower (which looks like someone tried to design a weed sprayer pack while inspired by Ghostbusters) and a heavy iron rake, and you have to be careful to watch what the fire is doing.

        Usually you do it early morning, when everything is still soggy. REALLY don’t want it to get out of control because then you have to rebuild the fence.

        • I have the wand type that hooks to a propane cylinder. Made up a little gasoline/diesel mix for the pine bark/punky rounds too far gone for firewood, let it soak, and went pyro. Fun! I had the fire trailer handy if necessary, but the grasses/weeds were already cut short in the burn area.

      • In my area the normal state of grass and underbrush varies between “wet” and “soggy.”

        Though it does remind me of an internet get-together in North Carolina, where we held a “flaming vacuum cleaner” competition as part of the festivities. The host said in retrospect that he A) should have raked all the dry leaves from the area first; B) should have run a hose out despite it being well below freezing; and C) ensured at least one other attendee wasn’t too drunk to help put out the fire as the flames raced toward his house…

    • There’s a California fire department warning people to not destroy spiders with a blowtorch. A guy set his parents’ house on fire that way.

      It’s not a total loss, and they were black widows, but still — don’t do that.

    • Not anywhere west of the Dry Line. (PNW doesn’t count.)

  6. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Depression?

    BTDT, Have the T-Shirt. 😉

  7. Sometimes I think something deep inside me wants me to stay depressed because I can’t seem to do the stuff that lets me do what I love to do. I cannot do any dyeing or felting until I clean off the work table, which has been covered with stuff for over a year.

    That’s downright self-abusive. When I do something well, and people like it and even buy it, I feel like I’m not good at it and don’t deserve praise and I quit doing it.

    And this has been my life forever.

    And then politics comes into life. I don’t want it in my life, but I cannot stop worrying about what could happen.

    • Keep a box or garbage back next to the table. Push it all in… only take out one thing at a time when you are going to do it. Sounds like you are overwhelmed… and maybe have anxiety as well. It helps me. 🙂

    • That’s one reason why the “cheer up!” people are so annoying. Once you’re really depressed you want to *stay* depressed. Or at least, you have little or no interest in changing things.

      • I find the ‘cheer up’ people a (fortunately resistable) temptation, because I fantasize about how enormously cheering it would be to peel away their rib cage and spread the Blood Eagle.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        They said “Smile, things could be worse”.

        So I smiled and things got worse. 😈

        • Well, see, that, right there, is a two-sentence horror story that leaves your imagination to run riot.

          When I woke up this morning the sun was shining, the sky was blue. I glared out the window with vast suspicion. Australia’s weather is notorious for changing rather abruptly, and has of late bitten me in the rear when planning what weather-appropriate clothes to wear (Do I bring a jacket or not?)

          My cynicism is rewarded – with a now very overcast sky that looks like threatening rain.

          • Hey. For weather related videos go visit the Facebook Montana site. Look for “Look It’s Spring/Summer in Montana …” or variations of.

            Hint. Bright blue sunny day. Go break out the summer gear with sandals, go running outside, gleefully, without checking, again, … into Snow. Those are the joke videos. There are true actual pictures. Yellowstone (Wyoming) shutdown roads for snow, in August, while there were still wild fires raging outside the park.

          • I usually always bring a jacket (or have an “emergency” sweat shirt in my car) whenever there is a chance that I might need one.

            “My cynicism is rewarded – with a now very overcast sky that looks like threatening rain.”

            Funny. I’m the opposite. I would rather the overcast sky than the clear sunny sky. But then, I don’t do well with too much sun (too much sometimes being as little as a half hour depending on how strong the sun is shining). So overcast days are the days I get to go out and be in the fresh air without feeling all drained and nauseated.

      • I’ve learned that there’s fun to be had with those people:

        “Cheer up!”
        “No.”
        “Why not?”
        “Principle.”

        Their reaction to that actually does put a smile on my face, so mission accomplished for them I guess.

      • Donald Stephens

        “Count your blessings” is worse.

  8. This is eerily familiar, except that I substitute “tackle some challenging invention/technical problem” for “write”

  9. Dorothy Grant

    I use weightlifting to combat depressive tendencies – because, like physically exhausting yourself on any other project, it burns off the adrenaline and cortisol in the blood. (Which makes sense. All those fight-or-flight hormones that are great for short-term survival and terrible when they sit around in chronic stress levels. So you do something hard enough to be fight or flight, and, even after the endorphin rush wears off, you’re gonna be less tense or stressed.) Also, exhaustion helps promote really good sleep, and good sleep makes the world SO much easier to tackle the next day!

    • Dorothy Grant

      Also, sunshine. Sunshine is a wonderful thing.

      • Yes. Yes it is. Sunshine, exercise, avoiding overeating, and getting a good night sleep are wonderful things. I’ve been taking a short morning (sunlit!) walk most mornings, in addition to the evening walk. I’ve kept my portion sizes under control. Last night, I blocked the raccoons out and got a full night’s sleep for the first time in over a week! And low and behold, I woke up feeling ready to take on the world. I hadn’t felt that good in ages. (Not taking Claritin for a while helped a bit, too.)

        • You do know that Claritin causes depression in some people, right?

          It’s also mildly addictive, and as a side effect, can cause many of the symptoms it’s supposed to be helping with…

          • I’m aware that some have reported depression as side effects, yes. I really do need it in late spring, but I sometimes forget to stop taking it. By late June or early July, there’s usually no need.

        • Had to explain to the nurse on duty yesterday that the reason why I am not taking that 15 minute walk from station to hospital, as opposed to taking a bus, is because I’m already running short on sleep and not eating all that well – as in, not eating 3 square meals a day, and basically am running on fumes, plus all the obsessions with SUGAR FREE means that I avoid everything drinkable in the hospital, including coffee I haven’t made myself. I am one of those few rare people who needs to keep blood sugar up, and the lack of options thanks to other people’s choices have become an annoying health issue for me. I like not fainting.

          My depression right now seems rooted in “I can’t get anything really done.”

          • Would it help to carry glucose tablets?

            • They work for me. (Type II, but have gone hypo on occasion.)

              • Feather Blade

                I tend to have hypoglycemic episodes (as near as I can tell) if I’m exceptionally stressed.

                When I lived in DC, I had to pack like I was going on a day hike in the woods just to drive the Beltway to go shopping. If I didn’t have something to snack on, I couldn’t navigate or make decisions (like how to force my way into the next lane to get to the exit I needed.)

      • Sunshine tends to make me miserable. I like soft grey days with intermittent rain. Unless I want to go body-surfing in the Pacific Ocean. Brrrr!

    • Supposedly, working out makes you conservative. Or something. 😉

  10. Happy St. Crispin’s Day, all you Happy Few Huns.

  11. >>Sunshine helps.<<
    And if you can't get enough sun because you're working too many hours, or it's too darn cold or wet you can supplement your sunshine quota with full-spectrum lights.

    I found that I could improve things with something less drastic, full-spectrum lights in a desk or reading lamp. Right now the place where I read and the place where I use my PC are the same place, so one does it for me. When I had more spacious quarters I had a reading lamp where I usually read and a desk lamp at my desk/ (This was in addition to the normal room lighting.) Each had a 60-watt equivalent CFL bulb. Whenever I settled at either place I would turn on the lamp and be bathed in full-spectrum light. It's not as good as going outside, but it helps me and beats the heck out of staring at a light therapy box for half an hour a day.

  12. Depression and anxiety have been twin demons on my shoulder since I was ten. The medication helps but it’s hard when the anxiety demon is saying “doom doom doom” about the future and the depression demon is saying “let’s revisit in HD every mistake you ever made, every time you’ve hurt someone, and every time you did something stupid”.

    Having the dog to take care of helps. I love her so much and taking her on walks is very therapeutic. I actually love walking but I find it hard to get out when the weather is bad.

    *takes notes from the post and comments* I’ve reached the try anything stage especially since we’re headed into winter.

  13. As a side note; I regularly have trouble sleeping and recently encountered some advice that works well for me: a hot bath before bed wakes you up, so cool it (I do cold baths in summer, but that can get a little extreme when the temperature drops), AND turn the thermostat down to something like 69 degrees F. YMMV.

    • According to my sleep-tracker, the last time I got three nights in a week of eight hours of sleep was back in April.

      That was also the last time that night-time temps were in the low 60s for the whole week.

      Grew up use to sleeping in rooms that were more like 59*…..

      • I think that I had at least eight years in a row of not sleeping the night through at one point. I actually have no memories of at least one of those years. Probably why people outta take lots of baby pictures.

      • I sleep better when 1) it is below 67 in the room and 2) A.T. Cat doesn’t decide that 0500 is a great time for getting petted. And perhaps fed.

        • Yes. The cat not wanting to cuddle at 4 AM is a sleep problem. Then there is jealous, who thinks mom should be only woken up for cuddling if glucose levels are less than 70, or mom stops breathing (less likely with devise, but possible); plus pup thinks she’s the one entitled to attention …

    • I keep the thermostat in my room turned to 18C. What also helps, for me, is lavender essential oil roll-on. I dab it on my chest (where I would put Vicks if I had a cold) and my left wrist, and it helps calm my brain enough to let me fall asleep.

      Also, a white noise generator such as a fan can be helpful if insects or similar keep you awake.

      • I can’t sleep if it’s quiet. I usually leave the tv on in the living room, with the volume low, usually looping a MST3k DVD.

        • $SPOUSE is used to my CPAP machine. It’s not loud, but there’s a difference between quiet and off.

          I tend to sleep better when it’s cold in the house; I’ll bundle in the covers and sack out. When it’s really hot, my Cheyne-Stokes breathing gets worse. (Talked the the cardiologist about it; it’s not a heart issue, and if it doesn’t bother me, he’s fine with it. I have to have an awful round of it to even notice.)

  14. Physical projects involve moving and *also* involve results that you can see. Even if the immediate result is more mess it still serves as visual proof that you did something. Particularly if it’s a project that will stay done once it’s done. At least for a while. (I’ve known multiple people who’d rather clean someone elses house because once it’s done they see it and then leave, and it *stays done in their head*.)

    Also, absolutely no point in obsessing over the election. Last time we all *knew* how it was going to turn out. It didn’t. And what was someone saying the other day? Something about being held responsible for things you’ve got no power over? None of us has any power over the election. We can do our bit but after that even *knowing* doesn’t change a darned thing. I know that I do it, and other people do too, but we make ourselves responsible for what we’ve no power over. It’s hell except that you tied yourself up and then doused yourself with gasoline and lit the match. “Political junkie” has never been a healthy place for me. I’m sure that I’m not alone.

    I actually find it rather appalling that the thing these days seems to be to make absolutely everything political and to shame people who *aren’t* political junkies. As if that’s a particularly moralistic thing to be, like, now you’re a better person and everyone should be proud of you.

    I’m proud of people who do their bit and then let it go. Heck, I’m even proud of those who *don’t* do their bit, but who are taking care of their own d*mn business. If you mind/command your own business, if you take care of your own responsibilities, you’re a hero.

    • Feather Blade

      I’ve known multiple people who’d rather clean someone elses house because once it’s done they see it and then leave, and it *stays done in their head*.

      Is that why it’s more fun to clean someone else’s house, than your own? That makes so much sense. ^_^

      • That, and you have no emotional attachment to Other People’s Stuff. Half the time cleaning gets bogged down on things where it’s not about the ratty old shirt from that particular summer, or the (now teenager’s) baby stuff, it’s about all the memories attached to it…

      • Well..I’ve done maid-work for pay, as has my mom. Honestly, I’d rather clean my own mess. But I do seem enjoy organizing anyone’s stuff. (Not that many opportunities to test this).

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Not being a political junkie is immoral the way not being a history buff, an anime weeaboo, or a grognard is. People should be ashamed of being more than an obsession that walks.

      • I want a gif of someone crying, “But don’t you Caaaaaarrreeee? Are you heartlessssss? If you’re not involved iiiiitttsss aaaallll yoouuuurr fauuuulllttt.”

        I’m pretty sure, frankly, that when it comes down to “fault” it may belong to those who have made a full time job out of the desire and crusade to make the State make everyone else do the Right Thing.

        And yeah… that’s called being “authoritarian.” Ain’t nobody ever set up a system to force everyone to do the WRONG thing you know.

  15. I have had a tendency toward depression since early childhood. Wasn’t actually diagnosed until I was about 25-26 years old (last year of my military service–that story told elsewhere). Never really treated until, um, 1998 or so? Something like that, which would put me at about 37. And it’s still something I struggle with.

    Biggest motive for finding healthy ways to deal with it right now is the need to set a good example for my daughter.

    • The big thing for me was when I finally realized that it had always passed before, and would again, if I rode it out. It took me way too long – into my 40s – to notice that. I guess it takes all my attention while it’s happening, and I try to ignore it when it isn’t…

      Just knowing, deep down, that it wasn’t going to be permanent, helped a *lot*.

      It also helps if I can arrange things so I don’t have to deal with people when it’s really bad. If I can get enough alone time, the “black dog” level of depression seems to fade to just a general malaise, much easier to deal with.

  16. I’m very much in favor of meds. I’m not on any but people that I love are, and it makes a world of difference. It’s not always easy to get the right med or the right dose, so if it’s not great, then don’t just take that as the final answer.

    All the rest, yes, different habits and more activity and sunshine and working out and getting physically tired (and the chemical changes that go with more muscle mass, etc. All of those things are very good, too.

    It’s just…. the meds are not *failure* of the other stuff or failure of the person who’s trying to defeat depression with good habits and lifestyle. Meds. Are. Not. Failure.

    Thank you.

    • (I did not think Sarah implied anything like that, but I know how people think! So I wanted to head that one off at the pass.)

    • I hate taking meds because 1) I can’t fly [FAA medical] and 2) it does feel like a failure. I should be able to get a grip, and my rational brain knows that 99% of what I worry about can’t happen or won’t happen. Alas, the “lizard brain” won’t take delivery of the memo, and runs around in circles in a mad panic, dragging by body with it.

    • I manage it. I’m afraid of what the meds would do to the writing. Anti-hystamines kill it.

      • I was on an SSRI for several years. I wanted to stop, the [redacted] shrink insisted, and I wasn’t willing to fight. Then, COBRA ended, I stopped seeing him, stopped the med, and felt better. Hmm…

        • I haven’t been on them (yet…) but several of my friends are or have been, with varying levels of success.

          From their reports and watching their behavior, I’ve come to the conclusion that the standard dosages are far too high for some people. The just wanted something to take the edge off, but instead they got something akin to “zombie.”

          • With my youngest we had a very good pediatric psychiatric nurse who was willing to try various things (teenaged brains aren’t adult brains) but what we found absolutely was that the dosages considered “normal” were way way way too high and tended to make matters worse. One med was just bad, others helped a lot as the dosage was gradually increased until suddenly the world blew up and we had to drop it and start over. Starting over we just *planned* on low dosages. Very low dosages. The social anxiety still exists and some occasional depression, but more at the levels of a normal introvert. Creativity still is just fine. No zombies. He’s an adult now and on a low dose of prozac and ADD meds and it seems to be steady and good.

            My point is that there were meds and dosages that weren’t just bad but that were Very Bad. I think that sometimes doctors just throw psych meds at people and the patient just ends up thinking that the meds don’t work for them or that they’ve got a choice between self-harm, suicidal depression, and zombie… either/or.

            We got a couple of good psych doctors. Now we’re stuck with a medical doctor without a specialty because I can’t find another psychiatrist who prescribes in this not-at-all-small town, or at least one who’s taking patients. I got lists from the old place that isn’t doing it anymore and every place I call does not “prescribe”. So on that front I’ve got no advice at all.

            Just to say, yes, I agree with TRX that the usual dosages might well be way too high. They certain are for my son.

            • Just because they precribe it doesn’t mean you have to take it. Or not all of it, anyway.

              What happens in a lot of cases is that doctors wind up focused on “treating the symptom”. Their training – and heavy pressure from the “experts” in the pharmaceutical industry – tells them to keep upping the dosage until the symptom goes away. So you get a nast side effect, and go back for another visit. He gives you some other drug for that. For practice management and billing purposes, many doctors prefer to focus on one complaint per visit, which breaks up evidence of cause and effect.

              If you’re not careful, you’ll wind up in six meds, five of them to deal with the side effects of the other ones. And most doctors *don’t* spend time reading charts. If there was time for that, they’d jam another paying patient in.

              • I have heard women singing the praises of pro-life physicians because when they went to them, the doctors’ response to menstrual problems was NOT “slap her on the Pill.” (Even, sometimes, when the woman wanted to get pregnant!)

              • Yes. When dad went on hospice the first things they did were to review his medications. Changed some out. He did “better” for awhile. Of coarse it was short lived & he crashed, review meds again, feel better, crash, repeat & rinse. Granted after med changes he’d recover but never fully back to the prior level, so a slow downward spiral.

                My niece was horribly misdiagnosed so that her medications of her misdiagnosis made her worse (& honestly absolutely nuts), which leads to self medication, which was not successful. She finally got answers (Lupis) & is doing well, with bad incidents, but at least she is more aware of what is happening.

  17. All my sympathies. I’ve recently had to force myself to remember that I, too, trend towards the depressive. Especially now, dealing with a much-loved elderly dog who is in the midst of congestive heart failure (and basically went from ‘still acts like he’s five instead of thirteen’ to ‘can barely breathe/doesn’t want to play with his beloved puppies’ in barely more than a week). So on short sleep worrying over the dog, dreading the soon-to-be-required difficult decision, and the advent of winter and shorter days. Also continuing dry and warm-ish weather, which means that I’m going on two years without a real break from the allergies (because, see, sagebrush blooms year round, and unless it’s buried under snow, it bugs me. Not as bad as some other plants around here, but it still means there’s pollen in the air even in the middle of a Wyoming winter.) Sigh.

    St John’s Wort helps me (but is problematic with lots of folks’ medications, so definitely NOT recommending it as a heal-all for everyone, heh), but I discovered recently that if I take it at night with the rest of the usual meds…I can’t sleep. So now I have to retrain the brain to take it in the morning.

    Probably I should take the advice in the blog and comments above and embark on creative endeavors again, but right now I’m finding it all but impossible even to knit–which is my usual fall-back–let alone draw/paint/write. Argh.

    • I challenge you to write a story about something doing in all the sagebrush, and the results. 🙂

      • “…and all the people who are obsessed with sage grouse’s heads exploded, the end.”

        (Sage Grouse, incidentally, ARE quite cool. But they’re also dumber than a bag of bricks, and the problem isn’t humans killing ’em off, it’s crows and ravens. But we can’t kill those either, on account of the Migratory Bird act…)

        • I had one nest in the middle of our low meadow, in the area where the kittycats love to hunt. I think you are being unfair to the bag of bricks…

          OTOH, I had a robin that was going to lay her eggs in the dog kennel. She was quite upset when I picked her up and evicted her.

        • That’s a tough one. Any way to grow preferential habitat? I have an old rose that’s good for that kind of thing.

          • We have a hundred year old lilac bush that would have worked. Mrs Grouse ignored it in favor of open pasture. A few years later, had the same thing go on in an even more open (and feral cat hunted) area. The couple were trying gamely to defend it, with the expected results.

        • 😀 I was thinking of all those activists who will suddenly discover that wow, sage grouse can adapt and might do really well in an environment where they can see predatory birds coming. The horror, the horror! Whatever will the activists do?!? 😀

    • Note that St. John’s Wort delivers an anti-depressant in the form of an MAOI. There’s an impressive list of warnings and drug interactions associated with it. OTOH, it tackles a fair number if issues, which might be why there’s a lot of interactions.

  18. Hit every red flag there is for it other than marked self harm. Something I’ve fought since I was in grade school and wanting to die. Had some level of control on it between high school and undergrad but grad school crashed it and never really recovered. Tried exercise, done all the biotests and wake up to 5 different pills, and counseling. I’ve just gotten kicked so many times and don’t expect to ever really get feet under me. It’s part of why I get tunnel visioned on things. Even without control my mind tries to build contingencies and in course of doing I tend to assume worst case because it’s most common.

    Part is that the hobbies I did have had to be given up because of this in some cases, from the rise of hatred in others. So i end up isolated by default. Trying to push self to go out or do things usually just sends it all deeper, sadly. Worst part is that I can’t even be bothered to read or build models or one of the dozens of things I enjoyed when growing up.

  19. SheSellsSeashells

    Good timing; the black dog’s visiting and has brought a few packmates along in case he gets bored. I loathe taking meds because they seem to suppress my creativity, which leads to less paying writing, less I-hope-it-pays-someday writing, and really bland meals, but they may be necessary this time around.

    Having gotten cyclical bouts of this crap since sixth grade, I’m philosophical, but it still sucks.

    • There’s always trying new (to you) meds – just because one set depresses the creativity doesn’t mean they all do. *hugs* Here’s to doing what you need to do to get through, and out the other side.

      • SheSellsSeashells

        Thanks! 🙂 It’s been going on a while and I KNOW it passes, but being in the trenches is no fun. Exercise works well for me, if I can overcome the lethargy long enough to get the exercise that will overcome the lethargy… 🙂

  20. I’m not depressed about the election. Trump will remain President, it’s looking like the Dems have no realistic chance to take the Senate, and if they do manage to take the House their margins will be paper-thin. Meaning they won’t have effective control.

    (For the record, my own prediction is that the Republicans will retain a narrow majority in the House, go to 54-55 seats in the Senate)

  21. Work, on the other hand…let’s just say that retirement is looking more attractive by the day. Except I’d get bored. Although a post-retirement job could be VERY lucrative…

  22. Christopher M Chupik

    To combat depression, I recommend bringing lasers, swords, and friends.

  23. I’ve heard somewhere (most likely here) that grilling a steak is good for when one is feeling down.
    At least I usually feel good after.

  24. During one really bad period I found making lists of things I wished to have done by the end o the day helped, so long as I kept the list realistic.

    – shelve 6 oit of place books

    Kind of thing. Also, I kept in mind a Sally Forth cartoon I knew of, where her husband is surprised to find her taking a bubble bath when she told him she had a long list of things to do.

    “It’s on my list” she replies, and then thinks “I’m getting better at my lists”

    • Oh, and it works best if you have a physical list, with checkboxes. So that you can look at all you checked off at the end of the day.

      • Sounds excellent. When it’s a really not-happy day, I make the other kind of list – the one that starts blank, and I record everything, large and small, that I got done. Nothing glaring at me to do, but a growing pile of things I did. It’s helpful, even if it’s not the things I “ought” to have gotten done.

        • Going through this, I sort of wish I had done a list of things that got done this summer. That firewood didn’t debark and move itself, one must remember.

        • I do that, too. My variable health situation means that even highly conservative plans usually get delayed or derailed, so the to-do list just grows endlessly, and I feel like whatsisname pushing the stupid boulder up the hill.

          Being able to look back and see that I’ve accomplished *something* helps a lot, even when there’s no visible progress…

  25. Hah! As if Socialists have hearts! Or is it brains they don’t have?

    Dear Americans, You’re Breaking Socialist Hearts!
    By Sarah Hoyt
    How many illegal immigrants (or immigrants in general) are enough? How many would the left want to give entry to and benefits in our country?

    You can ask your leftist acquaintances – though they might lie – but I think the answer from the left will be “Any of them who want to come in.”

    Now, if you’re a sane human being or even a human being who can pass as sane on odd Tuesdays, you probably look at that, at the caravan approaching us, at the caravans forming already in other South American countries, and you scratch your head and go “What in hell would that do? If we bring South America here, all we’ll manage to do is make the US into South America.”

    Ah, but you don’t understand. Even if you tell the leftists that these people coming here will wreck our economy, bankrupt social security and generally make it impossible for Americans to continue to live at the level they live now, you’ll be told “good” or “it’s what we deserve.” …

    • Have enough tactical and strategic smarts. Still have effective control of the USG, propaganda still reachese millions, and the most obscene, derogatory, and sociopathic are still free and feted. Still slamming the boot into faces even with calling for effectively the dissolution of the country into just an economic zone.

  26. Folks might find The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice W. Flaherty interesting.

  27. I have several depressions I need to combat. Just waiting for an acceptably low price for a couple truckloads of decent fill.

  28. Thank you for sharing. It takes great strength to do that. I know because I went public about my depression recently – after 36 years of it. Please keep sharing. Please keep seeking help. Please keep reaching out. Please keep searching for the root cause and for ways to release and forgive. You are not your traumas! You are strong, wise, good, and worthy.
    Let’s continue being survivors.
    http://www.depression-survivor.com

  29. Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  30. scott2harrison

    I’ve had depression problems for forty years. Was told years ago that the problem was repressed anger. Helped for a while. Getting worse now, must figure out what I am angry about so I can deal with it. Best wishes to everyone else with this problem. It does get better sometimes so there is hope.