First of all sorry for the long sob story but I see good advice given on this forum and thought it would be a good place to turn to.

My whole life has been out of balance for a long time now.  I feel like I'm trapped in a vicious circle of periods of relative health and periods of emotional/mental illness.

I oversleep most days and have not worked properly since last year - and even then I was not working on a regular basis.  I've just been living off my savings and just about managing everyday tasks like cooking a meal and washing etc.

I was massively depressed ten years ago, but I eventually got through it and found work, became self-employed and improved my education.  I remember when I was 22 thinking that my life would have taken a complete turnaround by the time I'm 32, but it has not.  The feelings of depression are back.  I've even had thoughts of suicide, which shook me a bit.  These thoughts have not been persistent, but I know from experience I need to see a doctor and have made an appointment.

I think I started to fall just over two years ago.  I was struggling with my personal problems as well as with the fact that my mother was quite ill.  Then, 18 months ago my mother died after an emergency operation and since then I've been slowly falling apart.

Just before my mother's death I was struggling with the fact that I've never really had a proper girlfriend and that I find social situations difficult.  It's now eight years since I was with a woman.  Apart from my brother, I have no strong friendships with other men or women. 

But the thing is, despite all this inner turmoil I somehow manage to hide it from a lot of people and even achieve some personal goals.  For example, a woman who I know well enough to chat to commented that I must have loads of girfriends.  If she only knew the truth!  And then, despite finding life in general almost impossible, I recently passed an open university course that I've been doing part time.  Something doesn't add up.

I suppose I feel overwhelmed by my personal problems and how my mood can range from a cheerfull optimism to a feeling of total despair.

On the one hand I don't feel as depressed as I was ten years ago, but on the other hand I know that something is not right with me.  My emotional problems go back to my childhood and my teens and twenties have not been much fun.

I just feel like I've reached crisis point.

Anyway, thankyou for reading.  I am grateful for any advice or encouragement. 

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Guys, I looked back on my long comment here and thought I was ranting a bit. That was right after I thanked Preston for his suggestions and complimented them. I just want to be clear that it wasn't duplicity or a back-handed compliment; his ideas are thoughtful and will help a lot of guys.

This is a big issue to me and I've struggled a lot. Although I know I need medical treatment, each man has to find what will work best for him. For the record, I didn't take any medications as any sort of "easy way out" or not dealing with my problems. I tried pretty much all the alternatives discussed here and worked hard at them. Seeing an M.D. was a last-resort move and I did it grudgingly.

Anyway, that's all I have to add now. I'm generally very confident in what I say and how I say it. On this thread, though, I think I may have missed the mark so I wanted to set things straight. Thanks.

Steve,

Great counterpoints! I don't think it was a rant because you are speaking from experience. Since Steff mentioned suicidal thoughts, you are probably right.

It seems that many people are calling themselves depressed (maybe because of the drug advertising) when they are really just feeling bad about themselves because they are being lazy. That was my experience after the military. I got injured, gained 45 pounds, starting feeling like crap and being unmotivated. Once I started working out again, dropping the weight, and taking action, I started feeling better.

Like you said, that won't work for everyone since some people have serious issues to take care of. Exercise can help (see article below); but if they can't get themselves started, they need additional help.

Mayo Clinic Article: Exercise eases symptoms.

Glad to here that you worked through your challenges, and it sounds to me like Steff should reach out to you.

Regards,

Preston.

Preston,

Thanks. Likewise, I am glad you worked through your low time.

Thanks for posting the link to that article about exercise. I like it because it takes a practical approach and allows for different levels of activity; in other words, you don't need some herculean effort to benefit from it.

I can tell the difference between depression and laziness, too. Laziness is where I've had a tough week at work and I'll spend Saturday and Sunday sitting on the couch watching football all day. Untreated depression will cause me to lose interest in football entirely (very out of character for me), dissolve all my energy, and start fights with friends about totally stupid crap so that they won't invite me to their homes to watch the games.

Exercise is an essential part of staying well for me. You've nailed that perfectly. As long as I stay well, I can keep exercising and keep on staying well. :-)

Fairly frequently, I do boxing workouts that are pretty intense. Sometimes, if I find my mood starting to sink, I'll meet up with a buddy and do a few rounds of sparring. The guys are close friends but when we're mixing it up, they won't give me any breaks. That forces me to keep my head in the game. Often, an intense workout like that will be enough to get me back on track. If it isn't, and I still feel crappy for a few days, I call my doctor and get an appointment and see if anything more severe is going on. Hey, thanks for the affirmation, too.

Steve,

I also did not consider your post to be a rant.  On the contrary, I'm glad you made your counterpoints to Preston's post because it helps me look at what I can realistically do now. 

 

Preston,

Thankyou for your advice and ideas for moving forward.  Some of the ideas, such as exercise, I'm already pushing myself to do.  It makes a big difference if I manage to go and do some punching on the heavy bag,  pull ups etc, then a walk to cool down.

Getting up earlier is the challenge.  I did manage to get up a bit earlier today though.

 

Steff,

Great job getting up earlier today!

Definitely listen to Steve about handling the depression because he has lived it.

Something that occurred to me that you might try in the mean time or in conjunction with professional help, is a weekly tracker.  For example, I set goals (achievable one based on my situation) for working out, reading, and writing and give myself tick marks on a calendar when I do them. You can use an Excel spreadsheet, notebook, or 3x5 card. It is a way to keep score on your activities because you can't always control the outcome. It is a mood booster to me to see which of the weekly goals I have achieved and it keeps me on track. The ones I don't I evaluate whether they are still important to me and work to do better next week. It might help you gain some momentum. I learned about the weekly tracker by reading the Compound Effect by Daren Hardy.

You deserve a tick mark, star, smiley face or whatever symbol you would use on chart to give yourself points or props.

Good Luck!

Thankyou Preston!

You're not going to believe this but last night I decided to write down some tasks for today into my diary to make it easier to organize myself, for example buy food, iron my clothes, plant tomato seeds etc.  This is something I've done before and forgotten how satisfying it is to tick each job off the list.  This morning I was up at a decent time and have done these tasks.  In a while I will go and do some exercise.  I might try to plan my week ahead in a similar fashion.

One day at a time... 

Awesome! Way to go! It is indeed satisfying mark the activities as completed when you finish them. I'm thrilled to know that you are feeling better and able to be more active.

Thankyou Steve!

It seems to me that I have to get active before I can start to feel better.  I went for an easy jog last night and found it made a huge difference to my mood. 

Steve,

Nice job on the boxing. That is one of my favorite workouts also. I will be in the boxing gym tomorrow. Have a good weekend.

Just want to thank everyone for their input so far.  I apologize that I've been unable to thank and respond to everyone who has given me encouragement.  Every reply I've received has helped to some degree and I'm touched by the kindness shown to me here.

A week ago I felt truly awful.  But sharing my troubles on this forum has lifted a huge burden.  I remembered the other day that I've been through this before and it was actually a lot worse the last time.  With the help of your replies I remembered that in the recent past I've done things like join a martial arts club to improve my social life and taken on educational courses to keep my mind active.  I can do this again. 

I think what has scared me is how quietly and insidiously the depression can creep into my life and start taking it apart.  There's a part of me that is very dynamic and organized and another part of me incredibly self-destructive.  For example, one of my goals was to get my private pilot's license.  I had actually saved enough cash to do it but most of the money has now gone i.e. to cover basic living costs while not working.  I find it hard to hold the 'bigger picture' in my mind, i.e. the benefits of staying on top of the emotions, exercising and working regularly etc.

I think what has scared me is how quietly and insidiously the depression can creep into my life and start taking it apart

Amen to that!  Keep up the good work--and remember, despite all the crazy discussions and personalities on this site, I truely believe that most of us are here to lend a helping hand when it is needed.  

 

Thankyou SB,

I also believe that most of the people here mean well.

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