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Serious: Dark times

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by downndirty, May 30, 2019.

  1. downndirty

    downndirty
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    https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/suicide-rate-america-white-men-841576/

    This is something I don't think gets discussed enough.

    I've also been seeking treatment for depression, and suicidal thoughts. I've had a couple of scares and I've been incredibly lucky. And while my life is on paper, fucking awesome, living in my own head is a never-ending struggle. And again, I'm cosmically fucking lucky.

    I think the main contributor to this is isolation. And increasingly, we are isolated. We throw so much more of our lives into work that is an artificial form of connection and the "real" forms of connection: church, family, social bonds that form in childhood are all declining.

    I'm curious how people view this, how people deal with it and whether or not people think this is changing.
     
  2. Juice

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    Whew boy, that article. That aside a book that covers this issue well, if not particularly deep, is Bowling Alone. It describes how the decline of bowling leagues is symbolic of of the overall decline of civic and community engagement. I don’t know many people that are members of a Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, or some other community volunteer group. I think the joining internet groups (Hi TIB!) has been a poor replacement for human interaction that is vital for human beings.
     
  3. downndirty

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    Lost Connections by Johann Hari is another book that describes depression really well.

    Bowling Alone is a great book. One of the things that stuck with me is how we're increasingly isolated at home: bigger houses, fewer people, over the last 100 years.
     
  4. Juice

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    I've heard Lost Connections is very good. The only time I fell into a real depressive slump was when I was about 23 or 24, was working a mind-numbing amount of hours at a job I hated and was suddenly cut off from all of my friends from college and felt them starting to drift away. Its also when the relationship with my best friend that I had since pre-school was starting to decline for no other reason than we just started becoming very different people. I had never felt more alone and isolated in my entire life, and this is when I was living in NYC.
     
  5. Trickysista

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    I didn't read the article yet, but I will state that I think there has been a huge shift in the importance of things rather than people, especially in the age of social media. People put so much more stock in material goods than the relationships they have with their neighbors. When you move into a new neighborhood, who brings you a housewarming gift? Whether it be brownies or a bouquet - a simple gesture of "welcome to the neighborhood" is not there anymore, in my experience. How many of us can count on our neighbors to watch our house when we're on vacation? Or just talk to your neighbors regularly? I think that creates a sense of isolation.

    Speaking from personal experience, I felt most alone when I moved into my own apartment for the first time. I knew no one in the area, and my closest family and friends were 45 minutes away. That may not seem far, but I was right out of college, and I was used to be around people I could count on for the majority of my life. My relationships with my closest friends were drifting apart, much like Juice stated, just for the mere fact that we were becoming different people. Not having that support system readily available really put me in my own head. It was scary, but eventually, I talked to a professional about it and found my way out.
     
  6. scotchcrotch

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    I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life as have my parents. I’ve been thru half a dozen psychotropics along with therapy.

    Big pharma hasn’t a clue about mental health. It’s a constant trial and error to see if a certain script works for you or not. Considering the emotional swings, it’s very risky to the patient.

    I wish there was an easy answer. I haven’t found a cure yet. I have to admit though after the years only a few things work and never completely- working out, lithium, and marijuana. If I balance those out, it’s a pretty good day. Alcohol will make the anxiety worse but it sure works for short term.

    I’ve never been fully suicidal but I have had days of just sleeping in bed because I couldn’t handle the anxiety of being awake.

    Find a life partner that can deal with what you’re going thru and understands. Keep trying new things and never ever give up. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life it’s that nothing stays the same. Good and bad times are never permanent. Take control of your life and setup a plan.
     
  7. downndirty

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    One thing from the article that resonated was each case had a sticking point as to why they wouldn't get help. "If I do, they'll take my guns", or "I'll lose my job", etc.

    For me, it's: "I do not want to take those meds." It feels like something that can be controlled with conscious effort and the right combo of factors, not medication. The side effects of the meds seem horrific.
    My former therapist is pretty formulaic and brought up meds early in our sessions. She broke it into thirds: for one third, they help, for another they do nothing and for another they make it worse. Sounds real fucking scientific to me, doc. It's one of the reasons I fired her, because she ran down her script, and never asked intelligent questions. I already feel shackled to medication due to asthma, I don't want my own mental state to mirror that dependency.

    I can't imagine what "cured" feels like. I can just envision it getting easier to manage. The closest parallel is lifting weights. When I started, 225 was Herculean. Now, it's not easy nor should it be. It's just easier than it was.

    I'll celebrate 10 years of sobriety in July (which, how does one celebrate a sobriety anniversary??), and I thank God I quit when I did. Alcohol seems to be a very common weight, dragging people into the wrong situations, or down further when they are low.

    For me, the best coping mechanism is time spent in the woods. I'll bowhunt very rarely, but I can just go on a hike, or go sit in the fucking wood somewhere and breathe. Not think, not reflect, no deep moments, just breathe.
    And riding my motorcycle. In part, because it's so terrifying and because it requires a level of focus that crowds everything else out. And in part, I think because it's the most dangerous thing I do, so in effect it's me tiptoeing close to death and saying "no, not today, but it was fun tiptoeing".

    One of the more dangerous coping mechanisms is sex. It's a powerful endorphin and for me, an equally powerful validation. Kinky sex especially, because of the buildup, the anticipation, the unknown and the intensity of it. Also, in seeing and being a part of the freak show, it makes me feel...grateful? Weird, but true.
     
  8. Revengeofthenerds

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    1) Definitely my initial worry was that if I sought help they would somehow take my guns. That was maybe 10 years ago, and I realize now how idiotic that was. I had (and have) no intention to harm anyone, and there is exactly zero reason for the fact that I had PTSD and depression, and still have occasional anxiety, to impact my ability to have the ability to protect myself and loved ones.

    2) A few months ago, after dealing with various medication for 10+ years, I finally learned that I was serotonin deficient. Until that point, my daily regime of lexapro, clonazepam, and lexapro (anti-brain seizures) worried me, as I didn't want to stay on something I ultimately didn't absolutely need, indefinitely. Now, my doctors and I both understand that the medicine (which increases serotonin) is actually more preventative, as I have a serious history of parkinsons, dementia, and alzheimers in my family, which are all brought on by low serotonin levels over the course of a lifespan.... thanks to having anxiety, PTSD, etc., and being treated for it early, I might have unintentionally helped myself avoid the same fate as basically every other old person in my biological family.

    3) Congrats on 10 years!!! I'm about 6 months without so much as a sip, which I finally decided I needed to make the switch for health reasons. I agree with you that alcohol only makes people worse if they have mental health concerns. Fortunately, the non-alcoholic beer market has been rapidly expanding, and it's not just O'Douls anymore. There's a ton of microbrews out there that just do NAs, to the point where there is absolutely zero drop off in taste from the real stuff. This weekend I had NA oatmeal stouts, IPAs, pilsners, and some great NA lagers. I'm currently enjoying an NA pale ale by Partake Brewing (Canada).... so to answer your question, you should celebrate by going to a place like Total Wine, Specs, Trader Joes, whatever's near you, and trying a few different NAs to see what you like. There's dozens of them out there that are all readily available (and some are quite healthy).

    *edit* I meant topamax, not lexapro for the second time. I take topamax for anti brain seizures
     
    #8 Revengeofthenerds, May 30, 2019
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  9. scotchcrotch

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    I can attest to that. After my divorce I was using three different dating sites at once. I’d go on 2-3 dates a week, new women every time.

    Slept with 90% of them and rarely use protection. It was a rush for me that I couldn’t stop. Never caught any STDs, thank god.

    Near the end of it I knew it was only a matter of time before I caught something so I settled down.

    Fun times but stupid.
     
  10. Bundy Bear

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    Depression is something I've dealt with since teenage years and it was only the beginning of 2016 I started to deal with it via means other than burying it under copious amounts of rum and beer. I think nearly everyone deals with it to some degree at some point but especially now society tends to deal with it by proscribing ever increasing amounts of medication. I avoided that route and instead cut back an enormous amount on my drinking, relied on those close to me as well as a massive dose of nature and exercise. At the start of this year I was in the best shape mentally I'd ever been in but as with most things it comes and goes, last few months have been pretty average but where I would have retreated to the bottom of a bottle five years ago now I try to spend more time hiking.

    Being in first the Australian Army and now the Air Force definitely made it harder to deal with as the culture is quite often about getting drunk and being tough, to show emotion or open up to someone was seen as weak, something Australia is still coming to terms with. One of the big things I realised was that all of the people I'd see and drink with, all those I built my social group around weren't really friends, there wasn't any real connection with the majority of them and I'd find myself thinking about how alone I was while surrounded by people which would end in me drinking even harder to suppress and forget the feeling.

    In the end it hits everyone differently and the methods for dealing with it will be different, like others have said though a big reason for it is the lack of connection in life. I've played team sports for years and somewhere between junior and senior level the numbers have continued to drop significantly every year I've played.
     
  11. Kubla Kahn

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    At least a place to start.

    I have gone through 2 major depressions in my life. Once in Shanghai where I was just rudderless and didn’t have even an inkling of what direction I wanted my life to go. I didn’t really understand that it was depression that was causing me to feel like shit. So I never dealt with it head on. The next was a few years later when my job turned into a toxic environment when a psychotic owner bought the company. It finally clicked after a year of emotional torture when I ended up crying after work, just sitting in parking lots balling, coupled with intense suicidal and homicidal ideation, and endless hopeless feelings. I ended up just going to my doctor out of pure desperation. People knock psych meds but Prozac snapped me out of my funk in a few months by about 85%. I had lifted and exercised for years and it was not the panacea it’s made out to. There was no way I was lifting and clean eating my way out of depression.

    I started therapy later. Unlike the movies I never once interpreted a dream and it was a lot more nuts and bolts life skills to deal with my real issue, anxiety. I never realized how much I let even mild anxiety rule my life. It leads to bigger issues when I don’t deal with it. The twisting knife pain that happens when I want to talk with bosses about career advancement, or filling out resumes, or trying to approach women for dates. I’ve always just backed down from the anxiety pangs that wear on you emotionally. Something I’m still struggling with.


    For the most part the biggest single issue that has helped is dealing with anxiety induced insomnia. Good restful sleep has shown that it can turn my whole self around. Looking back I wasted my whole educational career due to insanely bad sleep and sleep habits. I’ve taken big strides in finding the combination of sleep hygiene that helps me relax the most to get uninterrupted sleep. I never realized most of everything comes down to discipline in all aspects of life. Best routine to follow every single day, getting to bed at the same time, not drinking too much caffeine, timing workouts, leaving for work on time. It’s a challenge to stay on track every single day.
     
  12. Revengeofthenerds

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    Regarding therapists: I’ve found that there are more different types than there are flavors of ice cream. There’s the life coaches, the ones who wanna talk about your dreams, the ones who will give you a diagnosis and work from there, the ones who try a lot of different therapy techniques like visualization and painting, the clinical ones who look as you as a problem to be solved. And everything in between.

    If one person doesn’t work for you, try another one. Don’t be afraid when you first meet them to ask questions of them, about them and their experience. Doctors can be wrong too.
     
  13. scotchcrotch

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    I saw Tony Robbins once at a work retreat several years ago, and I thought he was hokey as can be.

    I started listening to his tapes the past couple weeks as business has been real slow and my anxiety has been worse than ever. If nothing else, he helps you step outside your mindset and see things from another perspective.

    I’ll listen to him in traffic and hearing his view on things really can help put you in the right direction.
     
  14. Juice

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    Bizzaro Tony Robbins.

    I hear ya. I’ve been developing an anxiety issue the last few years and I don’t know why. It’s gotten pretty bad and I’m developing some OCD tendencies as well. Turns out this shit runs in my family. Yay.

    Like Kubla, mine manifests itself in sleep anxiety. I’ll go weeks and be perfectly fine, then I’ll lie there one night for hours not sleeping, and a vicious cycle begins.
     
  15. Kubla Kahn

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    It’s not talked about much since it’s so heavily ingrained in our society, world wide, but coffee and caffeine can absolutely wreck your sleep. I used to drink upwards of 9 cups. Had major migraines dialing it back to 3-4 a day. It is a viscous cycle because the more you drink to stave off fatigue the less restful sleep you get. Realistically zero is probably best for me. Having it part of my life for so long it seems insane not to have something.
     
  16. scotchcrotch

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    Yep, I haven’t had caffeine in years.

    A plus to anxiety is that I don’t need that cup of joe anymore. My anxiety keeps me on my toes all day.
     
  17. Kubla Kahn

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    I feel like I experience anxiety more now that I’m cognizant of it going through therapy then I did in the blissful ignorance of not realizing it was happening.
     
  18. scotchcrotch

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    I focus my anxiety now to my advantage. If I feel business is slow, I’ll cold call like a psychopath until I feel better.

    It’s a whole lot better than biting my nails or wiggin out.

    I know anxiety is illogical, but if you can focus that spent energy in a productive manner, it can be to your benefit.
     
  19. Kubla Kahn

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    I do to a degree but usually let my situation get to a near rock bottom before implementing actions that end up helping. I’m still struggling to use the Long term small bits of anxiety to get minor tasks or goals done on a more average time frame than just letting everything build up and do a bunch all at once.