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  #31  
Old Sep 27th, 2012, 11:27 AM
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Wow, that's a lot to live with. Best of luck to you--and everyone else on this thread.

I went for my first therapy session. I think it helped. It's nice to have someone who has to listen to me for an hour and I don't have to live with them afterwards, haha. The counsellor was really mellow, sympathetic, and easy to talk to, not at all judgy. That was a big relief.

I've started doing Pilates again, which is something I love and I think it helps me relax. Last week was a bad one, it was Bee and Greg's anniversary on Saturday and she was a mess and I was little better. Now things have brightened up a bit.
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  #32  
Old Sep 27th, 2012, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Gath View Post
I think this is a great thread. I personally am on disability for chronic bipolar depression type one (thankfully with psychotic features). I've been in the hospital mental ward at least six times over the last four years with my first time back in 2001. I'm on something like six different meds for my bipolar disorder but i still seem to stay on the low end of life. I can't take anti depressants because they shoot me into mania, which would be great if I didn't have mixed episodes. So we settle for trying to keep me out of the major lows, and when they come, we focus on getting through them alive.

What do I do for catharsis? What keeps me going, distracted enough that I forget about death for a while? Dndog. I'm a full time gamer. My only other obligations are therapy twice a week, psyhiatrist once a month, letting my mom's dogs out four days of the week and the occasional odd job from my mom. I'm pretty much a shut in the rest of the time. Oh, and I have to manage my meds, which requires continual effort. With somewhere around thirteen meds and a biweekly injection, keeping track of it all takes discipline.

I live in Alaska so there really isn't much in the way of support groups up here. I went to rehab in California for six months a couple years ago. Once I convinced them that I had actually been sober for ten years they let me switch from AA meetings to NAMI and other mental health support groups. A shame there aren't any up here.

So I'm too unstable to roam the general forums, so I stick to my private games. Even there I get out of control sometimes and have to step back and take some time to regain perspective. (it's hard to act normal when you're psychotic, believe it or not...).

Well, I've rambled long enough. Thanks for reading. I'm interested to see where this thread goes so I'll check back later.
Hey Gath! Small world, aye? I'm always here for you dude. I consider you a friend despite only knowing you through this site.

The panic attacks have been becoming more and more common recently. Does anybody have any tricks for dealing with anxiety? Meditation (not medication) can only help so much.
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Stormhammer View Post
Hey Gath! Small world, aye? I'm always here for you dude. I consider you a friend despite only knowing you through this site.

The panic attacks have been becoming more and more common recently. Does anybody have any tricks for dealing with anxiety? Meditation (not medication) can only help so much.
Do the panic attacks have a common trigger or source? Do they feel the same or are there different kinds of panic?
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 02:27 PM
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Best of luck to all - Sinner, Gath, Med, Devonin, hvg, pilgrim, loki, Jond, stormhammer, redrab, and anyone I missed. And thanks to Sloth for creating the forum to discuss freely.

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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 02:35 PM
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This might sound stupid, but when I get particularly anxious, I count cookies. I try to list as many varieties of cookies as I can. I might start like:

Oreo.
Peanut butter.
Chocolate chip.
Chocolate-chocolate chip.
Viva Puffs.

And so forth. You can list anything really, but it distracts my mind and I seem to find cookies particularly soothing.
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  #36  
Old Sep 27th, 2012, 03:00 PM
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Have you tried the Oreos with mint creme in the middle? Those things are so awesome.
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  #37  
Old Sep 27th, 2012, 05:00 PM
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Hey Gath! Small world, aye? I'm always here for you dude. I consider you a friend despite only knowing you through this site.
Yeah, thanks man. I put a lot into your game and you are very receptive to my effort - not to mention that you reciprocate in kind. That's plenty help enough.

And friends it is!
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The panic attacks have been becoming more and more common recently. Does anybody have any tricks for dealing with anxiety? Meditation (not medication) can only help so much.
There are a lot of methods for dealing with anxiety. There is a program by I don't remember who called Mindfulness. Basically it is a series of steps to make yourself aware of your surroundings so that the anxiety won't seem so big and overwhelming. And in many cases, it is the steps taken to obtain a mindful state of awareness that end up soothing one out of a panic attack.

I went to a group class on Mindfulness up here for a winter, but it is a lot of classwork, which makes sense because it is designed to force an analytical perspective onto an emotional mind. I'm not very good with groups or classwork, so I ended up dropping out, but my therapist is the instructor so we work on things in individual therapy now and again.

But I use Klonopin/Clonazepam as a way of dealing with anxiety. I keep a few tablets in my wallet and if I get overwhelmed then I step away and take a chill pill and hang back for a few minutes to let it work. Then, if I can't get away, I'll go back and do my best to stay level. Downside is that it is a barbituate and can be addictive. But there are several different options as well.

Much of my anxiety comes from within - bad thoughts, paranoia, etc. I have been on two different atypical antipsychotics for the past three or four months and that seems to be helping. For the first ten or so years I didn't believe in medication and was noncompliant with almost every instance. After I started hitting the hospital up after grad school, I realized that meds are an important part of life - at least for me. There are some crappy side effects and it's a real pain in the ass trying to deal with refills, insurance, no insurance, prior authorization, copay, morning/afternoon/evening doses, titration... It really can change a person's lifestyle just from the maintenance alone. But there have been some real breakthroughs in psychopharmacology and even though I still feel down in the dumps a lot of the time, I'm not tweaked out of my head trying to figure out the most foolproof way to end it all. That was the norm for a few years, now it's just when I hit bottom now and again.

But I digress. Meds are not for everyone. But if you haven't tried them and you aren't getting better, you might consider seeking medical council.
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Last edited by Gath; Sep 27th, 2012 at 05:03 PM.
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  #38  
Old Sep 27th, 2012, 11:21 PM
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I noticed that there were several links in the first post of this thread. I also noticed that most of them are tests or the all important link to the Suicide Hotline. But there are other sites out there too. What happens if you take these tests and discover or confirm that hey, I am depressed! Well, there are two major support foundations that I know of, I am sure there are more, but this is what I have links to.

DBSA - or - Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. This national foundation offers a pretty big network of peer support, online counseling (though I caution you from relying solely on an online counselor to help you. They can bee good for support, but you might need the real thing), treatment tools, reading materials, support group locator (in the US) and a lot more.

NAMI - or - National Alliance on Mental Illness. It's hard to say which is a stronger support network when comparing DBSA and NAMI, so I say use both! NAMI has a very comprehensive support network on their site, but they are focused on a broader scope of ailments. Whereas DBSA focuses primarily on Depression and Bipolar, NAMI works with AA, and really most any type of mental illness - or ailment, some folk aren't quite sure they've got an illness yet, so ailment works just fine. I think that because of their ties to Alcoholics Anonymous, NAMI has support groups planted just about everywhere (in the US). And let me tell you, it is really something to walk into a room filled with people who are all dealing with similar problems and to be able to share your story and eventually your progress with a crowd who is intent on supporting you and giving you the encouragement that you need. And then to be able to give back to those around you. It's really something.

And finally, this used to be a link to a DBSA site, but they remodeled and I can't find the original, but since it is National Suicide Prevention Week I figured it would be fitting. Some of the things are meaningful, some of them are downright cooky. It was written for self-harm prevention but what is suicide if not self-harm? So here it is (a really big list).

 


Enjoy.
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Last edited by Gath; Sep 27th, 2012 at 11:39 PM.
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  #39  
Old Sep 28th, 2012, 03:51 AM
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For the past five years, I've had to deal with practically every neurosis in the book. I'm a life long substance abuser that struggles (started taking drugs when I was 12) with anxiety and chronic depression on a daily basis. My anxiety causes me to be terrified of people and open spaces wherein I do not feel in control. I have a severe abandonment complex which has prevented me from forming any meaningful real life relationships ever since early adulthood.

I'm 26 years of age and my entire adulthood as been spent in nearly unperturbed self imposed isolation (excluding work)

Most people think I'm disloyal or selfish, mostly because I tend to walk out on them as soon as I start fearing they might do the same to me. This has prevented me from keeping any steady friends or any romantic interests.

Isolation and fear of people in general has led me to be socially awkward, ironic since I use to be quite at ease in being the center of attention during my teen years. Today, I find that the only time im able to successfully interact with people in real life is when something causes me to forget myself. Only in these times, when self awareness gets swept under the rug, am I able to socialize successfully.

I'm not looking for any kind of empathy, to be honest, empathy depresses me. I've gotten to the point where I've realized that the only person that can help me is myself (Some people will insist that I'm wrong about that though). I just wanted to add a bit of my story to this thread and tell you guys how comforting, I wouldn't wish these issues on anybodyalbeit unfortunate, it is to see that a lot of the people on here are dealing with the same sort of problems.

Thanks and good luck to all of you
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  #40  
Old Sep 28th, 2012, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noghri Sloth View Post
Do the panic attacks have a common trigger or source? Do they feel the same or are there different kinds of panic?
My panic attacks either take the form of, well panic, to the point that I have to physically retreat from an area, i.e. run outside, in order to calm down. These attacks are typically triggered by the presence of my parents, which I'm in the process of trying to minimalize. It's funny that they don't even notice. Sometimes my panic attacks take the form of severe paranoia to the point that if I see people in public or my co-workers talking in private, I think that they must be saying bad things about me.
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Old Oct 1st, 2012, 09:33 PM
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My panic attacks either take the form of, well panic, to the point that I have to physically retreat from an area, i.e. run outside, in order to calm down. These attacks are typically triggered by the presence of my parents, which I'm in the process of trying to minimalize. It's funny that they don't even notice. Sometimes my panic attacks take the form of severe paranoia to the point that if I see people in public or my co-workers talking in private, I think that they must be saying bad things about me.
Okay, yeah minimalization with them is probably the best course of action. Do you need any help or ideas for doing so?

Myself I am having a resurgent bout of depression today, I've been divvying everything up so I can get out the door, you can't face the entire day when it's like that. You just take it one task, one breath if you need to, at a time. They do something similar in AA, if you can't make it one more day without a drink than you try one more hour, if not that then one more minute, then one more second.

Breaking everything up into smaller more manageable tasks is a great way to get stuff done that needs to get done even when you're battling through anxiety or depression. And if you can't get everything that's fine, just keep breathing. I'm rooting for all of you, and I believe in each of you. Together we can do this.
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  #42  
Old Oct 1st, 2012, 11:18 PM
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I started getting tattooed last winter. I'd gone 32 years without wanting a tattoo and by then my whole family had gotten one. Suddenly it seemed right. But it couldn't be just anything, I had to make it personal. So since before I was ever diagnosed with bipolar I had episodes or phases, like depression or mania, but softer. I had for some reason started saying that my dragon was waking whenever a mood swing would come up, so that carried on into my career as a professional bipolar and the dragon or the demon within would rise and fall and with it my muse and my ability to function in a normal day. Thank goodness that art school is so forgiving to the troubled minds of artists, or I would not have lasted long in academics.

So when it came time for winter holidays I was asked what i wanted and I asked for a combined christmas and birthday present to be a dragon tattoo on my right forearm. The dragon head is on the back of my hand as a constant reminder and more importantly as a constant confrontation of the disorder.

For the past several months I have been working on my 'second tattoo' which happens to be a sleeve on my left arm. It is a representation of the flight of Icarus over the labyrinth - to represent the manic phase of bipolar, then below the labyrinth there will be a sort of 'hell' scene, where a knight will be battling a demon - representing the internal battle that comes with depression, the fight for survival even sometimes. Anyway, here it is so far. The picture is kind of light because it was taken outdoors, but my next session is tomorrow so I will hopefully get some better photos.

I've discovered that this is a very cathartic process. I go in once a month, I am constantly saving my money now for tattoo sessions, which takes discipline on a low income lifestyle, but then I sit with the artist for three or four hours. He's a really cool guy, very eclectic and eccentric, fun to talk to and there is always awesome music on. And I'm not really a chatty kathy so there are a lot of times I just am quiet and being in the moment. The tattooing process itself is a very interesting experience, I'm sure it's different for everyone but I'm rather fond of it, though I'm worried about when we start adding color, I hear that hurts pretty bad. We'll see. Anyway, he's constantly booked out for six months and last time I decided that I enjoyed the monthly experience too much and so I added a couple more sessions on the books. I don't know how much longer I have on my sleeve, but I have monthly appointments out to June now. It gives me something to look forward to.
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Last edited by Gath; Oct 1st, 2012 at 11:19 PM.
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  #43  
Old Oct 1st, 2012, 11:25 PM
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Would love to see pics when you're done, Gath.
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  #44  
Old Oct 4th, 2012, 11:41 AM
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I would be a shame to see this thread fade away. I know that depression is not the most motivating factor in life, but building a community that welcomes people who are dealing with mood disorders can be very rewarding and is worthy of being pursued.

There have been a lot of people talk about what they suffer from day to day, month to month... What are some things that you do in life that help you stay sane or that keep you from jumping off of that narrow precipice into oblivion?

I isolate. I know it's not the healthiest choice/method/approach, but it's just a natural tendency and nobody really contests me on it. For the most part I get left alone. I do things to help out with my family, but they are behind the scenes mostly; taking care of the dogs while folks are at work, shoveling snow, etc.

I mentioned above that I get tattooed. I bring it up again because I just had another session yesterday. My labyrinth is finally finished! Woo! I think I figured out my next one as well, but I'll save that for next year when I get finished with my sleeve.

I go to therapy twice a week. Wow, some say, that's a LOT of therapy! Well, yeah, it is! It's expensive too! But twice a week I a) get out of the house, b) check in with a professional who has my health and well being in mind, c) we get to talk about whatever I want. Sometimes even nothing. Sometimes we just keep each other company, and d) I've known her for almost two years now, so our conversations are becoming more and more personal - and that's okay. Am I getting better? In a way. My disorder will never go away, so all I can ever hope to do is learn to manage it, to do the best I can to maintain a bit of normalcy and learn to filter through the psychosis and cognitive distortions. I find that one of the -easiest- ways to deal with those things is to avoid situations that provoke them, for example, crowds of people. Hell, I even get wigged out on this site and have to take a break here and there.

Let's see, movies are good. Get away from reality by jumping into a movie. I've discovered that there are some really good movies out there - even the ones that look like low budget crap! Depends on your standards though...

Well, that's me so far. What about others?
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Old Oct 4th, 2012, 02:11 PM
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One of the biggest factors for me is staying active. And I mean that in two ways.

1) As long as I'm accomplishing something, I wind up feeling way better about myself (or maybe just distracted from the things that I don't care for as much?). Taking the dogs on a walk. Doing some coding. Making a DnD adventure. Making a character. Cooking food. Something that, when I'm finished, I can look at and say "look what I did!" Nothing will make me feel more shitty about a day and myself than looking at myself and realizing that I spend 12 hours watching episodes of Numbers and nothing else.

2) Being physically active. Even if it's only for a half-hour, something that gets my heart thumping ( ) generally makes me feel better about the day and myself. And (science plug here...), there's accumulating evidence that this is a result of neurogenesis, and influences some of the same pathways that certain classes of antidepressants do... which means that you've got the same time delay (2 to 4 weeks) before this starts improving mood for most people.

That's (some of) me.
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