This is more than depression. The trouble is, I don’t know what else it is, but I do know I’m immobilised by it…
It’s obvious that i haven’t been able to do any real ‘work’ in a month or so…..i can’t read one book, annotate anything, or even ponder my dissertation….i start to think about it and my stomach starts to hurt….but what just happened really startled me….
i got both the letters from the doctors this week, so i’m ready to finish these court documents and get them in the post so this can proceed, and for a few days, i’ve been telling myself i’d start on it, but haven’t….so i fell asleep thinking about it last night, and woke up this morning determined to at least start on the revisions….so i thought i should move my laptop back over to my desk — a proper place to do proper work — so i carry my laptop over to my desk and look at all the things that are in the way of me putting it down…and my heart starts to race….my skin feels prickly, and my breathing gets erratic….i can’t do it…i can’t even put my laptop back on my desk…
perhaps the desk represents everything that’s destroying me right now….perhaps my subconscious fears it…i don’t know what it is…but it’s making me immobile to anything but the mundane….
i’m quite capable of taking care of myself….i can cook, eat, wash up, hell, i even gave myself a pedicure this week….i just can’t work…i can’t even read for pleasure…i’ve tried picking up 3 different books, and i can’t get past the first 5 words before my head starts pounding…I’m incapable of even emailing my supervisors and telling them that i need some time off
i’ve even avoided speaking with my kids this week, because i just couldn’t force myself to sound happy and well
i don’t want to hurt myself…..i don’t want to die…..i just want to stop and i can’t
i can’t stop my mind from thinking about all the things that haunt me…things that are being ignored right now…clamouring in my head for attention and dispensation…i can’t turn it off…i wish i could…it’s all that goes thru my mind if i don’t occupy it elsewhere….thus all the tv (a thing I havent watched in over 18 months)…..all i do is watch one series, movie or another, distracting my mind from the onslaught of things waiting in the wings…i now understand the reason for walkabouts…or going to ‘spas’, monasteries, ashrams, and retreats as people used to do — walking away from everything to focus and get it together….i wish i had somewhere like that to go to….and being alone in my flat doesn’t count…because i’m surrounding by all the things that clamour for my attention….
i’m back in therapy, but i only had two sessions and now have to wait a few weeks for the holiday break to be over for my next appointment….in the mean time, i need to deal with this somehow…i know this isn’t just depression, but i do know that’s a part of it, so i wonder, has anyone else ever experienced something like this? Does anyone have any ideas what IS happening to me?
Comment by Alma posted on Tue, 02/02/2010 10:54
thanx for the comments, love and support everyone…it’s nice to know i’m never alone in this wild ride we call life…
i do know what it is now…and my new blog explains everything
much love to you all
Comment by Iona posted on Fri, 01/01/2010 21:59
I’ve had really similar experiences – everything that you’ve described in your post falls into the remit of depression + anxiety. The experiences you’ve described are probably more anxiety driven – it sounds like they’re quite new to you and they can be pretty scary. Anxiety commonly accompanies depression, and a lot of treatment for depression tackles anxiety at the same time.
I had similar experiences back in May and was also absolutely terrified that I was having a breakdown. When I realised that they were quite similar to panic attacks and were temporary dips, rather than I’d reached a new and permanent low that helped me to deal with it. As did confirmation from a psychiatrist that I wasn’t psychotic, just very depressed! Like Lucy, my episodes were probably during the worst of my depression. I want to reassure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel – I’ve probably had a month of being normal 90% of the time, and no more scary episodes like that.
I think the main things that helped me were time off and medication. Combined with the passage of time. Reading up about panic attacks also helped by making me feel more empowered – I wasn’t having ‘classic panic attackes’ but it was the closest thing and it helped me feel more in control of it.
Try and take as much pressure off as possible and if possible give yourself a complete break – I stayed off work for a month – I was reluctant to stop at first because I was worried I’d have to stay back a year again, but realised I was going rapidly down hill and my health was more important. I also found communicating with others – like communicating with supervisors to say you’re still ill and need more time off a huge unexplainable hurdle – at that point being able to chat to someone every day/every other day who could help me talk through what I needed to do and how I was going to do it was really helpful because I couldn’t do that thinking by myself. i was really lukcy that we had a nice college nurse. I don’t know who you have around you but a nurse, doctor, counsellor, or trusty friend might be able to help.
I hope you’re feeling better really soon. remember things will go back to normal, and from what you’ve described it doesn’t mean you’re having a psychotic break. A lot of us have been there and are thinking of you.
Comment by Lucy posted on Wed, 30/12/2009 15:16
hey Alma. This type of thing is quite common to me actually> whenever my depression gets very bad everything seems difficult. i cant make any decision at all and get panic attacks when i have to. the other day even deciding what slice of chicken pie to give to my mum was difficult. I needed someone to say just give her that bit. It took me about 5 or 10 mins to give her a bit. And even then i decided to give her the other pieces and ended up dishing up the whole pie and just waited for my brother to choose. When I cant find something, no matter how minor or if it involves moving something to reach it and panic and just start saying i cant see it where is it? its not here? and my mum normally has to get it for me. I work alone at work quite a lot as well and i feel like i am drowning some days. I find myself wondering into areas where i know people will be even though i may not get all of my work done. I wish I could give you an easy answer but i cant. I find that learning to control my breathing. if you can control your breathing you can calm it down a bit and start to think more clearly in the situation. i find it can help a lot but it is hard to do sometimes and the first couple of times you try.
Hope this will help!
luv Lucy! xxx
Comment by Rees posted on Mon, 28/12/2009 01:31
Bear in mind that I’m not a doctor (I don’t even play one on TV) and have pretty much no knowledge on the subject, but the first experience you describe sounds a lot like agoraphobia, which is actually the fourth most common phobia in the world, according to a random book I got for Christmas. It’s a kind of irrational fear you get from leaving your comfort zone or an area you recognise as being comfortable, and can be quite over-whelming, even causing panic attacks.
It sounds like maybe you were experiencing the first stages of a panic attack when you were putting your laptop on your desk. Maybe try thinking about what you’re ultimately worried about – is it that you’ll miss your dissertation deadline or that it won’t be good enough? Are you worried about failing your course, or what the next stage might be if you succeed? These are the questions I try and ask myself when things seem difficult to handle, if I know what the absolute worst case scenario is then I can evaluate how likely it is and how bad it would really be. Trying to get a perspective really.
I hope that you work your way through this, I’m not really sure if I’m being any help but I am sure your therapist will be when you go back. Maybe another friendly blogger will be able to take your Audrey 2 and show you how to plant some lovely lavender or something!
Hoping things get better for you,