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she_who_questions
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I think I may be nearing the bottom of a depressive episode right now, and I was wondering if anyone was available to talk for a little while. Looking at the sum of my problems with relationships; (platonic, romantic, parental); self; place in life. I feel really overwhelmed and unable to make much solid progress on any of these fronts, no matter how I try to control my thinking or take progressive action. I realize that I'm severely lacking in good coping mechanisms, mainly for stress and anger. I'm absolutely exhausted and miserable. During a frustrating conversation with my mom in the car earlier, I felt so bombarded/unheard that I ended up lashing out at the dashboard. I think I may have injured my hand or something. Stuff like this has happened before. I've punched holes in my bedroom door, thrown things, kneed a hole in the wall, etc. When stuff like this does happen, it's usually during conversations with my mom. We have a lot of difficulty communicating. I don't normally react violently to people.

I'm facing a lot right now and I need an avenue to start feeling better. Something concrete, preferably, because I can't seem to rein in my moods/thoughts with much success. My mind feels like a complete mess. I worry that I'll never be able to have healthy relationships with people. I'm going through a breakup right now and am utterly filled with regret. I can't forgive myself for my role in it yet, and I feel like a toxic human being whose tendencies would destroy any good, kind foundation. I know that's probably not true, but I often question my own ability to be even remotely objective. It just seems like, no matter how conscientious I try to be, issues of control, inequality, and boundaries resurface. Obviously my ex-partner brought his own unhealthy stuff to the table, but the fact that I may have exacerbated things in my own way bothers me to no end. The main thing I regret is this: I think I treated him condescendingly at times because I was older and had gone through a lot of things that he hadn't yet. It was an unequal foundation for a relationship, and that's part of why it ended. I just can't help but feel like I've thrown away my best connection with another person. The guilt is devastating.

On top of that, I've been dealing with a pretty serious injury to my dominant wrist. I don't have full range of motion in it now, and I might not ever get it back. I'm having to fight with insurance companies, the Dept of Labor, and medical bills. It's just all too much for me right now, and I'm suffering unbelievably. I posted a bunch several weeks ago, and that was helpful, but things have reached a new low point. I just feel like whenever I ask questions or make progress with anything, a new Pandora's box of stuff opens up (be it emotional/personal discoveries, insurance snafus, etc). I'm starting to feel trapped or doomed to mediocrity and limbo. Right now I'm aware of how depressed I sound but I honestly have no clue when it got this bad.

Some new perspective, or just words in response, would be so helpful to me right now. I always take heart when you guys stay so positive and practical.

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Heather
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I'm really sorry that you're feeling this way. [Frown]

I'm also sorry if I'm asking for a rerun with this, but can you cue me in on what, if any, mental health help you have had or currently do have, like a counselor or therapist?

I ask because really, it sounds like you've been drowning for a while now with a lot of things where really, a "hang in there!" or two isn't going to cut the mustard, and where you're really going to need some qualified help to turn things around, like managing your anger in ways you don't literally injure yourself.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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she_who_questions
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During my first year of college, I had some problems and used the counseling center there a couple of times (seeing different therapists every time). Later in college, I spoke with a therapist over the course of 2 or 3 months regarding a different relationship breakup. So basically intermittently through college.

I feel that therapy was helpful in some ways, but not as much as I'd hoped. I tried to bring what I could to the table, but the therapists never really took a stand or pursued a real line of questioning with me. They kind of just let me talk, which got to feel stupid and unproductive. So I stopped going. I wish it had worked better for me. But I'm hesitant to go through the process of finding a qualified person again, spending a lot of money, and then not making significant strides despite a lot of personal introspection.

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Heather
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Generally, to really make progress with the big stuff in counseling or therapy, it's something we have to do as a habit and over many months. We also ideally need to keep seeing the same person each time.

Am I getting that you've both never really done that, but also not done that around anger management?

If not, I'd suggest considering it.

If you just don't want to explore that avenue, then you've got to come up with some other ways to work through all of this. And I know, when it feels like you just get whacked by one thing after another, it's tough. But I think the key to that is making sure you're managing all your stresses as best you can so they don't pile up and feel like a freaking steamroller. [Smile]

So, what are you doing for yourself now, or planning to do for yourself, to manage all of this in a healthy way? What can you draw on that you already know, or explore that you really want to explore? For instance, if not a therapist or counselor, what about more exercise or a yoga class? Learning to meditate? Finding a support group? making more time for destressing? Cutting some things out of your life, or limiting them, that aren't essential and you know you can't handle right now?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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she_who_questions
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Exercise has been the main thing for me. I've taken up running and go three times a week ish, at least 2 miles each time. That seems to help somewhat, but I wish I didn't have to rely on it.

I've also been staying in contact with friends and trying to bounce ideas off of them in a non-oppressive way. Other than that, I've been trying to write and pursue things I care about.

On some level, I'm hesitant to say that the main issue is anger since the real outbursts seem limited to my mom. I mean I've gotten angry with others, but not with the same intensity, sadness, and complete frustration.

The main thing I'm trying to work on, which seems like a foundation for all the other things, is self-esteem/self-trust. I'm trying to treat myself better, not settle for poor treatment, believe my own perceptions, and just act in accordance with my own value. (Even if I don't internally believe some of these things, I think belief follows action).

I don't really know how to deal with the mood issues specifically, other than to slog through them. I've thought about getting a prescription for antidepressants, but I tend to think they stop up creativity a lot of times (without people realizing until after they've gone off of them). And I'm downright afraid too.

I try not to focus on the bad things, to do what I can to remove obstacles at a given time, etc. Sometimes I just can't not put myself through the wringer emotionally. I tend to internalize relationship failures way too much, and I know this. It's like I'm conscious of these problems and the ways one normally goes about fixing them, but the solutions don't seem to stick for me.

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Heather
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You know, between you and me, I don't think of moving our bodies as some kind of crutch. It's something we know people need and have always needed and don't tend to do very well without, mentally or physically. [Smile]

If your anger mostly comes up with your Mom, maybe either a) limit your time with her, or b) see if you two can't find better ways of dealing with each other?

Plenty of creative people take antidepressants, so personally, if they benefit you, I'd not rule them out for that reason. But there are also alternatives, like changing your nutrition, upping your sleep, etc. that work for some people, too.

I can't tell you what works for you or doesn't in terms of processing tough things, only you can know that. But I feel like I hear you saying that the ways you have been going about this really aren't working. So, perhaps it's time to think about working some more on letting things go, especially things that are in the past?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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she_who_questions
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I wish there were some way to *practice* letting things go before having to deal with the passing of big life chapters. You're right though. Just wish I knew how to go about that. Trying not to focus on it, I guess?
I think I'm reasonable enough to be able to make connections between events in my past and my relationships. Sometimes I just don't get the emotional benefit that normally comes with those realizations. I don't get it.

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Robin Lee
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To link all of this up a little bit, antidepressants are certainly something you could explore if you felt you needed to. Since they need to be prescribed, you'd be able to discuss with the prescribing physician whether they are needed in your case, whether your doctor thinks they could be beneficial for you, etc.

As Heather said, exercise is something we all need, and something that has actually been shown to be helpful for people with mild to moderate depression. So, you're already doing something super for yourself, something that many therapists would likely explore with you as an option.

Can you say a little more about what you mean by making connections between past events and your relationships? Do you mean current relationships?

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Robin

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Robin Lee
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I'm also wondering what other coping techniques you have tried or are planning to try for the depressive feelings and angry outbursts.
It really sounds like you're struggling here, and would benefit from making a clear plan for yourself.

--------------------
Robin

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she_who_questions
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In the past, I've been prescribed antidepressants as well as anti-anxiety drugs for short term episodes. I spoke to my general practitioner about it; however, his prescription choices seemed really generic and his evaluation superficial. I only spoke with him once about it. Therapists in the past have also suggested meds as a possible option after speaking with me for a longer time.

For some reason, I'm incredibly paranoid about medications that will affect my brain chemistry or hormone levels in unnatural ways. I had a bad experience with birth control pills once--they made me really anxious and I couldn't distinguish between normal, emotional reactions (caused by life events) and synthetic hormone-induced anxiety.

I tend to feel that sadness is part of me somehow. And though I want to make my life more bearable in times like these, I have a very worshipful, hands-off approach to my brain's construction. I worry that, if I took pills, I would not know if they were causing problems or if I was losing out emotionally or cognitively.

To answer your questions, Robin: When I mentioned my ability to make connections between my past experiences and current relationships, I was mainly talking about patterns. I recognize that many of my issues with boundaries, self-esteem, and unhealthy relationships stem from my early home life. They are a child's predictable response to witnessing her parents' codependent dynamic. I could explain in more detail, but I figured you'd rather just hear the gist.

As far as other coping techniques are concerned, I have also tried yoga in the past. It was very relaxing, but unfortunately my wrist injury sort of prohibits me from taking part in it at this time. Aside from exercise and therapy years back, I haven't really tried much else. I might seek out a support group in my area, but I'm not sure where to start with that. I'm so busy struggling with job searches and medical claims that a lot of these options seem like another time drain. I know I'm probably looking at it wrong, but I'm trying to be realistic about my capacities.

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Robin Lee
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Being realistic about your capacities is an absolutely valid place to start! [Smile]

IN terms of yoga, gentle yoga classes often do not require the same physical abilities for poses but have the same relaxing benefits. You might try looking for some of those classes.

What type of support group do you think would be beneficial for you right now?

--------------------
Robin

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she_who_questions
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I was thinking of searching for a depression support group or something along the lines of "dealing with trying times." I realize that I need to get better at letting go of the past and starting over fresh every day; present actions are all I can control. While I want to learn from the past, I have difficulty doing that without rifling through it in an excruciating way. I really does possess me a lot of the time, especially lately (after this breakup). I want to be more self-loving and less mired in guilt. But it's tough for me to maintain a balanced understanding of past events because on some level I think that balance can only be gained through excessive control over one's thoughts... That's scary to me.
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