Author Topic: The Mental Health Thread  (Read 3992 times)

smallcleanrat

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The Mental Health Thread
« on: May 25, 2020, 07:14:50 PM »
Thought a thread like this might be of use...

mamselle

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2020, 08:32:36 PM »
Good idea.

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dr_codex

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2020, 09:21:58 PM »
Subscribing.
back to the books.

OneMoreYear

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2020, 09:02:49 AM »
Thanks for starting, smallcleanrat. How have you been doing?

smallcleanrat

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2020, 05:08:31 PM »
Been struggling to put the last ten days into some kind of coherent narrative. I feel utterly wrung out, hopeless, yet strangely calm and empty.

10 days ago: acute increase in intensity of suicidal urges; these will continue throughout the next week and a half, along with persistent insomnia allowing me only 1-2 hours sleep per night

9 days ago: contact a text crisis line around 2am when urge to stab self with kitchen knife will not subside

8 days ago: inform SO of struggles and increased suicide risk; he acknowledges the info without much commentary

6 days ago: inform SO of psychiatrist's recommendations RE: increased suicidal thoughts; SO says "I didn't realize that was going on."; I learn that SO has completely forgotten about what I told him 2 days earlier; he defends himself with "well, you know I have a bad memory and I have a lot going on with work; I can't remember everything you say to me"; I feel more alone than ever, realizing I may have to deal with this without his support

5 days ago: in the evening, I ask SO to sit with me a while because I don't think I can be alone; he says he's sleepy and heads off to his bedroom; RE: my hurt expression, "What's the matter with you?"; I remind him of what I told him the day before and 2 days before that; his response "oh, that; well, I don't know what to do about it; I can't sit with you all night"

3 days ago: SO and I have a long discussion; I tell him I was very hurt that he would forget something like me telling him I wanted to kill myself; he says he doesn't understand why I am hurt, since he doesn't forget on purpose; "I didn't do it out of malice or not caring, I just forgot. Why are you so upset about it?"

SO then details how he no longer gets anything out of our relationship. I've been sick and struggling for years, and I think he's burnt out on being supportive and optimistic. He wants marriage and kids and all that's put on hold while I try to sort out my health. Because I don't feel well most of the time, we don't have as much quality together time. It's difficult for me to stay in the moment and engage with another person due to pain, exhaustion, or my mental issues.

If things don't get better soon, he says he will probably want to leave. I can understand this. Even suggested it several times over the years (but he insisted he loved me and would stick with me whatever happens). I'm actually surprised he stuck with me as long as he has. The only thing I can really fault him on is timing. Throwing this at me when I'm in this mental state seems unkind. He could have told me a couple of weeks ago, when these urges were not as acute. Or a couple of weeks from now, when possibly they will be relatively under control again. But we don't always think of these things when emotions run high.

I am now working with my therapist to rewrite my safety plan. I can no longer include him as part of my support network, even if he hasn't broken up with me yet. If work stuff and the overall stress of the pandemic mean he doesn't have the bandwidth to help me, I can accept that. I wish he could have told me earlier, but it is what it is.

People in the mental health world are quick to tell you that feeling you are a burden on others or that they would be better off without you are distorted thoughts stemming from the depression. But it can also be the truth. It is wearying to be there for someone who is sick for a long period of time.

Maybe that's why I feel so calm. I felt for a long time I wasn't doing anybody any good. And if one of the people closest to me as much as says so, it resolves the dissonance.

Right now I'm focusing on grading and helping students with their final term papers. If I can't fulfill my duties as TA, I feel like I've got nothing left. It's the only domain in my life in which I am currently doing anything useful (minimally; I'm behind on this work as well).

Once term ends...I don't know. I'm not quite sure what I'll do with myself from there.

« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 05:10:38 PM by smallcleanrat »

dr_codex

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2020, 07:53:24 PM »
Oof. That was raw, smallcleanrat.

Please do not collapse all feelings into one other person, or into one job, or into one anything. Keep talking with your therapist, please.

And listen to the calm for a while. Maybe it's telling you something that you need to hear.

Hang on.

dc
back to the books.

Hegemony

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2020, 12:53:15 AM »
Just because one person is burnt out or grumpy or stressed generally or not a responsive kind of person does not mean that across the board you are a burden on others. I know he's the only one in your house right now, but don't take him for the position of the world. He could just be tired and stressed; he could equally just be a jerk. He could be a tired and stressed jerk. To be honest, he sounds like one. Anyway, don't take the opportunity to interpret his jerky responses as some kind of confirmation of the distorted thoughts your brain is advertising. Do keep reaching out to folks who are more available. I know this situation sucks, but it will not always suck. Meanwhile take the chance to do whatever keeps your spirits a bit happy — trashy TV, chocolate ice cream, looking at kittens on Instagram, buying novels with no redeeming literary value — or all of the above.

evil_physics_witchcraft

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2020, 04:27:16 AM »
Just because one person is burnt out or grumpy or stressed generally or not a responsive kind of person does not mean that across the board you are a burden on others. I know he's the only one in your house right now, but don't take him for the position of the world. He could just be tired and stressed; he could equally just be a jerk. He could be a tired and stressed jerk. To be honest, he sounds like one. Anyway, don't take the opportunity to interpret his jerky responses as some kind of confirmation of the distorted thoughts your brain is advertising. Do keep reaching out to folks who are more available. I know this situation sucks, but it will not always suck. Meanwhile take the chance to do whatever keeps your spirits a bit happy — trashy TV, chocolate ice cream, looking at kittens on Instagram, buying novels with no redeeming literary value — or all of the above.

This! Actually, all of it.

Morden

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2020, 07:35:57 AM »
Hi Smallcleanrat, I am very glad that you reached out to the crisis line, that you are working on a safety plan, and that you are communicating here. Those are really strong, brave actions. Your SO has his own issues; you can't take them on now. Instead, just keep trying to move forward and keep talking to your therapist.
Thinking of you,
Morden

notmycircus

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2020, 08:25:08 AM »
Thinking of you this morning.

smallcleanrat

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2020, 12:09:15 PM »
Oof. That was raw, smallcleanrat.

Please do not collapse all feelings into one other person, or into one job, or into one anything. Keep talking with your therapist, please.

And listen to the calm for a while. Maybe it's telling you something that you need to hear.

Hang on.

dc

Hi, dr_codex. I'm not sure what you mean by this. Would you please explain?

I'm not sure what the calm means. Right now, I think it's a sense that there is less pressure to fight the suicidal urges. People kept telling me to think of how devastated SO would be if he lost me. But if he's not getting anything out of his relationship with me, it wouldn't really be much of a loss.

He keeps telling me just because he doesn't remember, it doesn't mean he doesn't care. This does not make sense to me. This is not on the level of forgetting I asked him to pick up milk from the store or forgetting to get me a birthday card. Maybe it's because I've been struggling with these urges for so many years, he's tuned it out. I only tell him when there seems a real danger of me taking action; I don't bother to mention the more passive ideation or impulses that are moderate enough for me to manage on my own. But even so, he may just have heard it too many times to take seriously at this point.

I think what some people don't understand is, even when I know I will be able to restrain myself from acting on the urges, I still may need help. The constant conflict of wanting to act but knowing I "shouldn't" can be agony, and it hurts so much more to be going through it alone.

Just because one person is burnt out or grumpy or stressed generally or not a responsive kind of person does not mean that across the board you are a burden on others. I know he's the only one in your house right now, but don't take him for the position of the world. He could just be tired and stressed; he could equally just be a jerk. He could be a tired and stressed jerk. To be honest, he sounds like one. Anyway, don't take the opportunity to interpret his jerky responses as some kind of confirmation of the distorted thoughts your brain is advertising. Do keep reaching out to folks who are more available. I know this situation sucks, but it will not always suck. Meanwhile take the chance to do whatever keeps your spirits a bit happy — trashy TV, chocolate ice cream, looking at kittens on Instagram, buying novels with no redeeming literary value — or all of the above.

I can agree with this, but it hasn't just been one person. My parents have told me how my issues have burdened them with extra stress and expense. My mom tells me she sometimes feels all the effort and emotion and time they invested in raising me felt like a waste, given how long it's taking me to establish a career, a relationship, and a life of my own. My previous grad program told me my slowed progress due to illness made it difficult to justify the resources being spent to train me, and that one poorly performing lab member can negatively affect everyone else in the group. My previous PI told me not to return to lab after my medical leave, even if I was declared recovered and fit to work again, because chronic conditions can flare and a lab needs dependable people.

At this point, I don't know how to justify taking more time from doctors, therapists, or anyone else, given how long I've been trying to get better. I feel I've used more than my fair share of resources at this point. And even if I do get better, I have no reason to expect I will ever get well.

SO has been talking to a therapist for the last month for help managing stress. This therapist told him in their very first session that SO needed to be less emotionally invested in helping me get better, because people with chronic issues like mine never do (based on therapist's professional experience). SO mentioned wanting to marry me and raise a family; therapist said it was a terrible idea. Mental illness is hereditary, and chronically depressed people do not make good parents (as they are to preoccupied with their own issues to be sufficiently attentive and loving). SO did say he thought these were very odd things to say so confidently when all the therapist had to go on was SO's description of me and our relationship in a single therapy session. These things might not be true generally, but for me specifically, I've long wondered.

apl68

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2020, 12:56:02 PM »

Just because one person is burnt out or grumpy or stressed generally or not a responsive kind of person does not mean that across the board you are a burden on others. I know he's the only one in your house right now, but don't take him for the position of the world. He could just be tired and stressed; he could equally just be a jerk. He could be a tired and stressed jerk. To be honest, he sounds like one. Anyway, don't take the opportunity to interpret his jerky responses as some kind of confirmation of the distorted thoughts your brain is advertising. Do keep reaching out to folks who are more available. I know this situation sucks, but it will not always suck. Meanwhile take the chance to do whatever keeps your spirits a bit happy — trashy TV, chocolate ice cream, looking at kittens on Instagram, buying novels with no redeeming literary value — or all of the above.

I can agree with this, but it hasn't just been one person. My parents have told me how my issues have burdened them with extra stress and expense. My mom tells me she sometimes feels all the effort and emotion and time they invested in raising me felt like a waste, given how long it's taking me to establish a career, a relationship, and a life of my own. My previous grad program told me my slowed progress due to illness made it difficult to justify the resources being spent to train me, and that one poorly performing lab member can negatively affect everyone else in the group. My previous PI told me not to return to lab after my medical leave, even if I was declared recovered and fit to work again, because chronic conditions can flare and a lab needs dependable people.

At this point, I don't know how to justify taking more time from doctors, therapists, or anyone else, given how long I've been trying to get better. I feel I've used more than my fair share of resources at this point. And even if I do get better, I have no reason to expect I will ever get well.

You are not the first person who has come, with some reason, to feel like a burden or drain on other people.  I have gone through periods in my own life of doing that.  A church pastor once told me "It's been a year (of pastoral counseling) now, and I haven't been able to help you."  He never used a word like "burden," but I could tell that my coming to him with intractable problems was wearing him down and frustrating him.  The same held true for my parents, friends, and staff at work.  Not to mention me--I was so very worn out with carrying all of this, and really didn't know how I could keep going.

But you know what?  Each of the people above continued helping me, bearing with me, and bearing the burden of helping me.  They didn't give up on me, because they loved me.  As appallingly prolonged as that period (and other similar periods in my life) was, it did end.  And I got my life back. 

You can also.  You are a human being created in God's image, and of great value to God, to Jesus, and to your fellow human beings.  Preserving that value is well worth the effort of helping to carry somebody over a rough patch.  Please don't ever forget that about yourself.  Or about others, when the time comes that you're on the other side of the helping equation.

polly_mer

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2020, 09:37:01 PM »
At this point, I don't know how to justify taking more time from doctors, therapists, or anyone else, given how long I've been trying to get better. I feel I've used more than my fair share of resources at this point. And even if I do get better, I have no reason to expect I will ever get well.

Life isn't fair, so don't worry about exceeding some "fair share" in any one area.

The only justification needed is medical help is necessary at this point for you.

You matter for more than your job or research.  Keep reaching out for the help you need.  Knowing people for a long time is not the same as having people who are the right combo of help at the current phase in one's life.  One of the benefits of moving somewhere new can be finding new people who are better suited to the current situation.

We're here for you.
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sprout

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2020, 10:35:37 PM »
You matter for more than your job or research. 

This is so important to hear.  For me, when I'm fighting depression, one of the things that helps is to remind myself that there's still a 'me' there, beyond everything that's going on and stressing me out.  Meditation helps me get back in touch with that center, personally, but whatever works for you will be worthwhile.

mahagonny

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Re: The Mental Health Thread
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2020, 08:22:29 AM »
.At this point, I don't know how to justify taking more time from doctors, therapists, or anyone else, given how long I've been trying to get better. I feel I've used more than my fair share of resources at this point. And even if I do get better, I have no reason to expect I will ever get well.

Why don't you use Donald Trumps' share? He doesn't have the sense to use it. Besides, people who do therapy enjoy doing it. It gives meaning to their lives.
Only thing I would caution against (and this is about me, not you) is being lulled into the impression that you are doing something about your problems by 'working on your mental health.' While this can be true for some, often the patient just needs to take charge of their life and make tough decisions. For example, I once went to a divorce attorney. I was so distraught at the time I let it slip out that I was going to a therapist. She was ready for it. She said 'well, go to the therapist if it keeps you sane, but we're better. We help you get things resolved.'

*************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Now that the stage is set for sharing personal information, I'll just reiterate my curiosity about ketamine or other 'last ditch' depression treatments. I always thought 'last resort, desperation' characterizations sound funny to people who have done the hard work of facing chronic depression for years. You wanna see a 'last resort?' Try reading Dr. Aaron Beck's Feeling Good where he fields phone messages from his patients. No medication involved. Just finding the right words.
Sometimes the generosity and heroism of these people can leave one at a loss for words. I had a therapist who, on the one hand, was a terrible therapist. She almost never spoke. OTOH, she saved my life by insisting I check in with her by phone once a week. (At the same time, I was a pretty poor patient.) Sometimes I wonder how these people deal with your going away, they appeared to have cared so much.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 08:36:29 AM by mahagonny »
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