July 17, 2015 at 5:47 am #79994
After years of feeling anxious and depressed on and off, I am now well on my way to recovery. I wanted to share my story, so that others can see that recovery is possible.
After years of changing jobs, living with people I didn’t get along with, unhealthy intimate relationships and changing financial situations, I was strung out. I eventually landed a great job and got back into my house and was living on my own, so everything should have been rosy. Instead I had an emotional breakdown. Moving house, the new job and being exhausted took their toll and I was tired, depressed and panicking every second of the day. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t cook for myself or get out of bed, let alone go to work.
So after a few months watching my health decline rapidly and feeling terribly anxious and depressed, I resigned from my job and spend the next few months recovering. (I am in no way suggesting you quit your job as being able to support yourself financially is very important). I decided to start taking care of myself and my well being. This was made up of sleeping, reading, eating, doctors appointments, counsellor appointments, psychologist appointments and being with my family. I slowly unpacked my house and began seeing my friends again. One of the most important things I did was to start talking about depression and anxiety with others.
Don’t let the stigma attached to depression or anxiety stop you from being open about it. If you are suffering then talk to your family, your friends and those who you know will support you. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will see that when you discover how many other people (and believe me there are heaps of them) have experienced anxiety, depression or an emotional breakdown like I did.
Surround yourself with positive grounded people who believe in you. Get a counsellor and a therapist. Go for walks, do some exercise, get some fresh air and talk to others about how you feel. You will be amazed by how people can relate to your feelings and just knowing this and hearing it makes a huge difference. Find advice online or through friends that resonates with you, everyone is different and different techniques work for different people.
After the breakdown, I needed lots of rest, I drank coffee and looked at the sea, I focussed on healthy eating and seeing my friends again. I decided to stop looking at why I felt the way I did and just focus on enjoying the present moment. I accepted that what happened, happened and I could heal naturally in my own time. No having to be better quickly, I was allowed to have bad days, great days and tired days. I recommend not putting a time limit on it. Recovery is a natural thing and it will take as long as it takes. Accepting this allows you to relax and recover at your own rate. Once I accepted this I feel a lot better instantly.
Don’t dwell on what you are or are not, what you have or have not. Deep down you know you have strength and that you are a great person and that’s all you need.July 17, 2015 at 7:54 am #79998JessParticipant
Thanks for sharing your journey. It is good to hear from people who have made it to the other side of anxiety and depression. I was especially moved when you said, “I decided to stop looking at why I felt the way I did and just focus on enjoying the present moment.” These are wise words and I will think of them when I am feeling that old creeping feeling.July 17, 2015 at 9:35 am #80008
i am so afraid im not going to make it. in fact i have never been so terrified in my life.July 17, 2015 at 11:28 am #80014
Dear Birdy: Thank you for your share.
pamela: what is going on?
anitaJuly 17, 2015 at 7:14 pm #80025
i just finally broke anita. about 12 yrs ago left alcoholic husband w/my kids moved close to where i grew up. he hasnt been part of thier life in anyway including financially. i have no family and didnt do a good job of creating a support system and its been harder thank i guess i thought. job losses financial crisis and not being properly treated for depression. so there came a time a couple of surgeries which brought in pain pills. i became someone i didnt know and the funny thing is ive been a social worker over 15 yrs. i could move mountains for my clients but couldnt help myself. 2 yrs ago lost my job would lay in bed for days stare at walls for days lost my home car everything. a friend has let me and my daughter stay with her. not easy on anyone and i feel like a failure and so many other things. so there is some positive i need to admit that. a longtime friend living about 200 miles away spent a couple of wks with me at first of this year and last month and is now in touch every day and is being my biggest support. i am on meds and finally making all my counseling appts. i have been reading a lot on line especially here. trying to get in habit of meditating. but its seems to be going so slow. and where im staying is like 20 miles out of town and i have no car so ive been very isolated which doesnt help. sorry this is so long. tiny buddha has been a godsend. also i read your responses to people often. you have so much wisdom and seem so centered. i hope i can be like that eventually. im trying just feal making bad decisions since ive made so many in the past. this is not who i want to be not who i used to be. its humiliating. may sound weird but robin williams really affected me. if he had access to any and all the resources he needed and still couldnt make it scares me anita. i dont think i would ever kill myself but i want to get back on my feet. want to go to a movie. want to be able to walk in store buy a coke. never thought something like this would happen to me. of course also theres was the stupid mistake of getting involved with someone that blew up and crushed me. anyway again sorry so long…but thanks anita for responding. send me good thoughts please….the truth is in some really dark moments when ive been looking for some nugget of something ive read things youve said and it help. thanks again
pamJuly 17, 2015 at 8:38 pm #80026
Interesting, you mentioned Robin Williams to make the point that if he, with all his financial resources, succumbed to his depression, what are your chances (using my words here)- – –
I thought too or Robin Williams as the latest example that international stardom only a few achieve, with millions of people, many millions knowing his name, his looks, his movies, admiring him… and money and all that society says SUCCESS, big time success is about- he is the latest proof society is wrong in its definition of what SUCCESS is and what makes a person content.
So when you feel like a failure for having lost your job, your home, car, the money and material things- you subscribe to society’s definition of failure vs. success, the same definition PROVEN wrong once again by the suicide of Robin Williams.
If GREAT material success and even international stardom of mind boggling proportions is what success is then explain, society, Robin Williams.
So, what, pam, if you not having a job or a home or a car or other money and property- what if you didn’t think it to mean that you are a failure? Just as having those things does not mean someone is a success?
i don’t know if this is helping you, may not at all. Maybe it will though, someday.
I would like to write you some more but I am having a difficult evening and will be back here in the morning. If you get this by then, please write me some more, here or on a new thread.
anitaJuly 17, 2015 at 10:49 pm #80028
Thank you anita…i always find your thoughts comforting. i know what you said about success is but i relate it more to my kids. i hate/regret i wasnt the rock they needed..that at times they had to use thier money to help out that they have had to see me like this. also stability for them. they are so good one out of college one just started. no drinking or drugs which may be the good that came out of thier dad drinking and my issues. they are so kind generous and accepting of others. i try to at least give myself some credit for that…my son has even said to me well you raised us. i also am trying to remind myself i cant go back and i have to let things go and believe things will be better..i either believe it or i dont. want 2nd half of life to be better than the first. faith has been a hard thing for me. again thank you so much for reaching out to me and for your words. im sorry your evening has been difficult. i appreciate so much how u reach out to inspire and share with so many others and you make a difference with what you say.
i look forward to hearing from you when you have the opportunity
pamJuly 18, 2015 at 12:35 am #80031
Firstly, you are not a failure, far from it. From what I have just read about your kids its sounds like you have done a fantastic job of bringing them up, one just out of college and the other started and no drugs or drinking and you have done that whilst going through a tough time, that shows courage! Im sure they would not be the kind and accepting kids they are without your upbringing and you should be proud of that. You have loved them and done your best and that is all they need. Noone is perfect and you have done the best you can, which is all that matters.I think you have more strength than maybe what you realise. It looks to me that you have been strong for a very long time.
I understand that is hard to stay positive at times. I agree with what Pam says about success. Success should not be something society defines. Don’t fall into the trap of measuring yourself against others, there will be people who have more than you and some people that have much less. As a counsellor you have touched many peoples lives in a positive way and this is another thing you should be proud of. To achieve that you must be a caring person and says a lot about what a good person you are. Its hard to let go of the past, I find it hard at times too so I can relate, thats why I started to live in the present moment, to enjoy what I was doing, even if that is just having a coffee or listening to some music.
Its great that you have a support person in your life. Don’t worry if the process is going slow, keep going with your counselling and reading and above all be kind to yourself and take good care of yourself. Things will get better.July 18, 2015 at 8:35 am #80040
Here is a more acceptable to me definition of success: bringing up children who are kind, generous and accepting of others, who are not into addictions of any kind and who are getting educated for a professional future for themselves. Personally, I would choose this success anytime over a car, a house, money. Without a second thought. If I was to be a mother, I would choose to be YOU right now, as you are, than to be another mother driving a fancy car, getting a big monthly paycheck and “looking good” while having kids who are unprepared for life, who SUFFER because of what I did or did not do to them or for them.
Good job! And now, step by step, be it the smallest step, move forward, nothing spectacular, earth shattering, small things. Watch your thoughts- aren’t they what got you in trouble- don’t believe them, just because a thought occurs to you does not at all mean it is true. It does not take a psychotic to have distorted, untrue thoughts, we all do. I hope you somehow employ self empathy to replace your distress. Do not pretend to your kids that you are doing better than you do and at the same time continue to take responsibility for your thoughts, your feelings, your life (so they are not burdened with… distorted guilty thoughts and whatnot). Be true and real IN YOUR CURRENT STATE so they continue to learn that it is OKAY to feel whatever they feel, that it is okay to struggle, and that they learn how you are getting out of it, or through it patiently, slowly, with self empathy (show them that!!!) – all the things you can teach them in your present situation, the things that will HELP them. And you.
anitaJuly 18, 2015 at 2:48 pm #80050
i will be forever grateful i stumbled upon this sight. ive often told my counselor about it and need to remember its also a supportive community for me. thank you birdy and anita so muchJuly 18, 2015 at 2:51 pm #80051
and Anita im going to print off what you said and carry it with me i know im not the only one that is thankful you are here and reach out to those of us searching for some wisdom, clarity and kindness.July 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm #80057
You are welcome, pam, anytime.
And thank you, Birdie for your original share on this thread and for your post to pam, very well written, I thought.
anitaJuly 21, 2015 at 3:17 am #80168
Thanks for your kind words Anita, very lovely of you to say so. I was thinking Pam, being that you were a counsellor, you could do some self treatment. When you have a negative thought (like what Anita writes about above) you could offer your mind a different way of looking at the thought. You could write down the thought in is negative state and then right next to it you could write down a positive way to look at it and then choose the positive way, my psychologist taught me this and it works really well for me. Im sure you also know lots of other ways in which you can help yourself through this journey through all the things you learnt as a counsellor Be as kind and supportive of yourself as you have been to others. Like Anita says: baby steps… 🙂 🙂July 21, 2015 at 8:01 am #80171
Yes, that method you learned from your therapist is called “reframing” I think. I like it that a therapist not only uses a tool during sessions but also teaches the patient or client how to use the same tool on her own. I like that very much. Reframing- suggesting a different way of looking at the same circumstance- a different possibility that if is more in line with reality- is the way to go.
anitaJuly 24, 2015 at 10:39 am #80386Bethany RosselitParticipant
I second what Anita and Birdy have said. Reframing (or redefining, as it is sometimes called) can be life-changing. It’s relentless work at first. EVERY thought that doesn’t feel good needs to be looked at and questioned.
Pamela, remember that you can define “success” and “failure” any way that works for you. Is failure even possible? If we try something that doesn’t work out, but we learn from it, is that not success?