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Donna

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Mods, if this is misplaced, please move.

Can we talk mental health? Not the toxic positivity that seems to normally find its way around social media via memes. They can be helpful in a moment or two, but they don't really address the issue(s). I'm talking the nitty gritty...depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, bi-polar, et.al. How do you deal with it, or not? Any coping mechanisms you've found helpful? Medication or herbal treatments? Therapy or holistic methods? A combination of multiple things?

Sometimes, just talking about it helps. Relatability allows us to borrow strength and light from those who are shining while our own light is weak and dim. Do you find this to be true?
 

Donna

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My story...I have suffered from anxiety or depression all my life starting in childhood. I have (and still do) battle self esteem issues and PTSD. I was well into my adult years before I ever took treatment and therapy seriously; it was far easier just to hide it than answer their ridiculous questions. When I was a child, my fat phobic mother was convinced my overeating stemmed from it. After multiple therapists finally advised her, "she's fine, she just likes to eat," she quit pulling me out of school for doctor visits and I really developed my masking skills.

I have been in talk therapy now with the same doctor since 2019, but it wasn't until earlier this year I started to see real breakthroughs. I still compartmentalize; boxing away memories and feelings that I can't deal with. I also take an anxiolytic three times a day, an SSNRI for depression and nerve pain, and I have script for a benzodiazepine for traumatic events. I avoid the benzos as much as possible because they don't just take away the anxiety. I feel like they take what makes me me, and nobody likes zombie Donna.

When I was still mobile, I tried yoga and mediation, but they didn't touch it. Herbal teas taste great, but don't do zip for me. I'd love to try CDB oil or even medicinal marijuana, but unfortunately it's not legal where I live. I really believe that if I am able to walk again and return to a somewhat normal life, I might be able to get away from so much medication and retry the more holistic methods.
 

loopytheone

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I know for me, I take SSRIs every day and have since I was a teenager. I can't tolerate SNRIs, like what you take. I'm autistic, and I have pretty bad anxiety and depression too, enough that I've been disabled and unable to work my whole adult life.

I've had a lot of therapy over the years, some more helpful than others. This is going to sound like a cliche, but in a lot of ways, I found just talking to regular people more helpful than anything. Being here did a lot to help me as well. It taught me a lot of social skills and decision making and helped me make choices to be a better person. And finding people in FA/BBW scene to talk to and play with and stuff helped get me over a lot of my fat/weight mental issues. Taught me a lot about myself and how my sexuality works as well, and how to let go of the shame I had in regards to that for so long.

Recently, my chronic fatigue therapist has been really useful for me. Psychological therapy has limited effects for me because of my autism (CBT doesn't work at all for me, for example) but having my energy levels and mental/physical health all wrapped up into one thing helps me get my lifestyle in order and work on making slow improvements. She has taught me a lot about how to manage my stress as well. I only speak to her for an hour or so once every few months, but it is so helpful to have somebody to guide me and to appreciate that my mental and physical health are really closely linked.

I wish everybody out there the best of luck with their battles!
 

Tad

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I'm fortunate to have pretty functional mental health. But I know I struggle with something along the lines of depression at times, when I can go seasons without being remotely productive because I'm in some sort of cycle of mental interrupts or attempts to stimulate needed brain chemicals or something.

I can go hours (days?) where I just can't settle to focus on what I need to do, because of this desperate jumping around/distracting that can feel near addictive (as in I'm desperate for something and doing everything I can to get it. Although I don't know what "it" is other than vaguely to say "mental stimulation or satisfaction or some brain chemical). Mostly the inevitable panic as I need to finally get it done after all of that seems to be enough to squeeze something out, but it is an entirely different flow than when I'm functioning well.

I have never been to anyone to diagnose or treat any of this. As I say, I'm mostly pretty functional and can panic produce enough to slide by even at my worst, generally. And you know, general guy resistance to asking for help and scepticism that there is help.

I do know that getting outside, sunshine, and exercise all tend to help, but especially when I'm falling behind because of those cycles it can be hard to get myself together to get enough of those things.
 

Donna

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Tad, sometimes my anxiety makes me jumpy and distracted, overwhelmingly so in fact. My therapist thinks that I might have adult ADHD ('cause you know, I don't have enough other diagnosis going on.) I don't want to have to take any additional meds to the thrice daily cocktail I'm taking now.
 
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ScreamingChicken

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Mental issues run rampant in my family tree.

Mom was fighting depression the last 28 years of her life. She despised moving from TN to TX when my dad's job relocated them. Breast cancer made it worse and issues like COPD finally brought her down in 2020.

My father is bi polar AF. One of my younger sisters is as well. Her twin has OCD but she is so functional that it is pretty much a non issue. She is a nurse in the Army so it is actually an asset in a way.

My brother was bi polar. He took his life with a shotgun in 2019 .

As for me, I got the anxiety. My ex wife of 16 years made me jumpy as hell and it wasn't much better after we divorced either. It wasn't until I checked myself in to a mental hospital, got myself some much needed help and just made myself take a pause in 2017 that I turned the corner. Taking lexapro doesn't hurt either.

My anxiety is very much in the background these days. It barely registers anymore. Working from home and getting the two dogs last year have been a huge boost to my mental and physical well being.

ETA: Addiction seems to be a thing in my family. Mom's birth mother died of a heroin overdose. Alcohol has been a tricky issue with me and my siblings. My sister has issues with prescription painkillers. I have had issues with food and if you ask my wife, smell goods is my biggest problem. Seriously, I have almost 70 different colognes, after shaves and body sprays.
 

cinnamitch

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PTSD,Depression and Anxiety. I hate myself, i am very aloof, and have trust issues. I have taken so many meds, spent hours in therapy and nothing helps. Now I have had a disease for two years that will kill me. I hope to have five more years but it’s probably not going to happen. That is just one more thing to mess me up mentally, but I will muddle through.
 

Dromond

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Bipolar II, with the majority of my cycling being through various states of depression, also I have anxiety, and repressed anger. My anger is inwardly focused, so I'm just a danger to myself and nobody else. I take an anti-psychotic to control this Mulligan stew of issues, and it does help some. Over the years I've seen more psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, counselors, and LCSWs than I can count. I had a stint in-patient once, which was helpful.

I'm a mess.
 

SSBHM

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Shhhhh It's really a secret remedy for many psychological issues so I probably shouldn't mention it.

The answer isn't really that complicated but it does require an open mind.

Various nutrients are instrumental. If I mention one or two that wouldn't do justice to the matter, and it seems the medical community is pretty averse to any suggestions that food and nutrition are so important. Exercise, sunlight, fresh air, sounds, and interaction are other keys to feeling good.

Talking is sharing and caring too. I think it can be very effective but fundamental real change can be made so much better with the right nutrition.
 

Donna

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Shhhhh It's really a secret remedy for many psychological issues so I probably shouldn't mention it.

The answer isn't really that complicated but it does require an open mind.

Various nutrients are instrumental. If I mention one or two that wouldn't do justice to the matter, and it seems the medical community is pretty averse to any suggestions that food and nutrition are so important. Exercise, sunlight, fresh air, sounds, and interaction are other keys to feeling good.

Talking is sharing and caring too. I think it can be very effective but fundamental real change can be made so much better with the right nutrition.
I disagree. All the proper nutrition, exercise, fresh air and even talk therapy in the world will not cure chemical imbalances in the brain. And again, to suggest otherwise is to negate the struggles of those who deal with mental illness. "Feeling good" is not the cure for depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. Please note, I am NOT saying all of these things you mention won't help, but they are not the remedy.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. For too long, misconceptions about what causes mental illnesses, and their crippling effect on those who suffer, have forced too many people to suffer in silence out of guilt or shame. Or even ignorance of what options there are available to get some relief. I've lost both friends and family to suicide, and I myself have attempted it, so I am more than passionate about this topic.

Click Here for a link to the NAMI website (National Alliance on Mental Health)
and Click Here for a link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
 

loopytheone

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Yeah, things like nutrition, exercise, sleep, routines etc can all definitely help you to get the most out of your body/mind, but people with mental illnesses are, well, ill. You can't cure, say, cystic fibrosis with diet and lifestyle, and the same is true for a lot of mental illnesses too, in my opinion.

Like, for me, my chronic fatigue therapist has been key in me getting the most out of my energy everyday, and increasing it over time, as well as working with my mood and stress management. These things are great and really important. But I wouldn't be able to do them/listen to her if I wasn't on my meds. Many years ago, a psychiatrist told me that looking into my eyes was like looking at a corpse, and there was no talking therapy that would work until I addressed what was physically wrong with my brain. My meds allow me to access/use talking therapies, life style changes etc in a way that just wouldn't be possible without them.

I do wish that medical professionals took a more varied approach to mental health, with tips on how to look after the body and brain once a person is in a state to use that advice. Over here, they are very good with the meds, but then sort of leave you to flounder and figure out everything else on your own. I'm glad it is that way round rather than the other way round, but it could be improved for sure.
 

waldo

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Mods, if this is misplaced, please move.

Can we talk mental health? Not the toxic positivity that seems to normally find its way around social media via memes. They can be helpful in a moment or two, but they don't really address the issue(s). I'm talking the nitty gritty...depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, bi-polar, et.al. How do you deal with it, or not? Any coping mechanisms you've found helpful? Medication or herbal treatments? Therapy or holistic methods? A combination of multiple things?

Sometimes, just talking about it helps. Relatability allows us to borrow strength and light from those who are shining while our own light is weak and dim. Do you find this to be true?
comment respectfully rescinded
 
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Sonic Purity

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PTSD,Depression and Anxiety. I hate myself, i am very aloof, and have trust issues. I have taken so many meds, spent hours in therapy and nothing helps. Now I have had a disease for two years that will kill me. I hope to have five more years but it’s probably not going to happen. That is just one more thing to mess me up mentally, but I will muddle through.
^ I relate to this extremely, other than i go out of my way to avoid doctors, so i have no idea how far i am along my death spiral. Seems to have picked up in the last couple of months: bruise way more easily, skin getting thinner, hungry often but can’t get enough food in me because of historic surgery scarring in my intestines + ongoing inflammation… which affects the brain and mood and my depression/anxiety/trauma/etc. issues.

Then again, i was supposed to have been dead a decade or so ago until i stopped paying as much attention to orthodox medicine and more to fundamentals of nutrition and lifestyle from how humans evolved. Each of our paths differ, and i’m grateful most of us have options from which to choose.

I think about a man who was told he had 4 months to live, verified with second and maybe third opinions. In his late 40s i think (would have to look it up). Quit his job and figured that there had to be some way to deal with things, so plunged super-deep into personal research to find his own path. It’s now at least a decade and a half if not two later, and he’s still very much alive and healthier than he had been prior to the time of diagnosis.

None of us know. Many things i’m doing not by choice but by circumstance are supposed to help keep people alive longer, so i might live for decades. On average genetic males in my family die around 80, so on that basis there’s about 17 years left. Given my intense un-health history, very realistically i might not make it into 2023.

Over the years I've seen more psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, counselors, and LCSWs than I can count. I had a stint in-patient once, which was helpful.

I'm a mess.
Haven’t done in-patient myself, but the rest of that matches. Kinda gave up at a certain point, moving towards other unexplored avenues of healing. Cranio-sacral therapy with somato-emotional release was helping. I’m currently in somewhat self-imposed limbo with that, related to minimal $ and marginal transportation, along with being at a point where i have to force myself out of my recluse shell and LIVE, even if it terrifies me and might fail spectacularly.

I disagree. All the proper nutrition, exercise, fresh air and even talk therapy in the world will not cure chemical imbalances in the brain. And again, to suggest otherwise is to negate the struggles of those who deal with mental illness. "Feeling good" is not the cure for depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. Please note, I am NOT saying all of these things you mention won't help, but they are not the remedy.
Unfortunately there is no one remedy/system of remedies. My personal experience is that both SSBHM and Donna are correct: i’ve improved dramatically from where i had been primarily from changes to nutrition and lifestyle, but those alone have in no way solved my fleet of issues.

I have to wonder how humans made it as many millennia as we have without having to focus on biochemical imbalances in the brain. What changed? What might need adjustment from how societies function now, whether “back” to older healthier practices or forward some one or more new directions? Or am i ignorant (very possible), and centuries and beyond ago people were doing biochemical adjustment with other substances? I know alcoholic beverages and maybe peyote have been used for that, but that’s the limit of my limited knowledge.

Great topic, Donna. It’s a nice space to be able to get real about our related-yet-individual struggles.
 

CurvyEm2

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I've been struggling with bad mental health all my life. I had lots of behavioural difficulties as a child and was removed from school at a very young age. I developed drinking issues in my young teens and started using drugs at about 15. I had many unstable relationships in my youth, mostly due to a massive fear of abandonment which made me act out and try to push people away this was compounded by emotional instability, emotional regulation problems and massive mood swings. In my mid 20s anxiety developed into full blown panic disorder and I was diagnosed with OCD. In my early 30s I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and more recently ADHD but that couldn't be diagnosed until I stopped drinking.

Meds wise I take Mirtazipine for depression, anxiety and sleep 45mg, Atomoxitine 100mg and propranolol. I've been on a loads of mood stabilisers but they don't work for me. I don't/can't take benzos due to extreme tolerance due to abuse alongside it being a huge relapse risk. I'll soon be adding ADHD stimulant meds but I've been trying to avoid this as I fear it is a relapse risk. Therapy wise I've had substance abuse therapy, anger resolution therapy and emotional regulation therapy (ERT) I'm hoping for DBT at some point soon then psychotherapy when they deem me stable enough. I've also done AA, NA, and SMART. I've been to rehab. I also see two psychiatrists which can be a bit confusing. One is for BPD and one is for ADHD.

The mix of meds and sobriety have really taken the edge off everything. I'm mostly stable nowadays but I still have really bad anxiety and the occasional panic attack. I do feel like this is probably the best it's going to get but my life is livable now and I can cope with it. It's been over a year since I've been hospitalised for any serious suicide attempts.
 

Donna

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Navigating the world having both anxiety and depression is a fate I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Each condition alone is almost unbearable, but treatments can lighten the burden. It’s just a matter of finding the right combination of holistic therapies, clean living, medication, and psychiatric counseling/talk therapy to stabilize depression. Anxiety is trickier. Researchers can’t agree if anxiety is due to a chemical imbalance, or if a traumatic event triggers it. Severe or long periods of stress change the chemical balance in the body and the brain. Both anxiety and depression tend to feed off each other and cycle. At least for me.
 

Layers

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I was depressed and anxious for many years. Instead of listening and helping with my issues therapists and doctors just wanted to shove pills down my throat and a whole load of judgement.

I didn't even realise I was 'depressed' until a so called professional told me so. She kept convincing me that there was something wrong with me from the way I sat (because I was ashamed and never asked to be there) and dressed in casual non feminine clothing.

She never actually cared for the issues that were actually troubling me. She didn't care really that I was being bullied at school and I couldn't open up to her about problems at home cause my Mum usually was there who was actually the prime reason for my unhappiness.

In the end she let me go saying that my problems 'aren't severe enough' to receive counselling and that their purpose is to 'help people who are actually in a crisis such as self harm' . She basically thought of me as a time waster and told me that I was 'better' when only what felt like a few weeks ago she was saying I looked depressed and tried to force me with this doctor to take pills which I didn't understand why if I was so called 'not in crisis' . They basically hand out pills to those they can't be bothered to help and just want to trial young people on new medication that hasn't been fully tested to be effective!

She and the doctor were both just bitches who knew nothing. She never put in the effort to make me feel comfortable and would actually make me feel worse than I already was by saying things like "How do you think we can help you and Why are you here today?" and tell me how run down I looked.

In fact some days when I was feeling decent I actually felt like shit after having to talk to her. I hated it so much.

Also plot twist neither her nor the doctor were actually qualified professionals and were in fact trainees so HA!

There was only ever one person I spoke to that I genuinely enjoyed speaking to and would make me feel more happy and confident - and this was a school counsellor. She actually put in the effort to listen to me and talked to me like a friend rather than being clinical like all the others with their faces in a clipboard sitting all pompous and upright. She'd sit causally and I was allowed to sit causally without judgement of not sitting of how a 'lady' should sit.

Most of the time we didn't even talk about my problems and just talk about movies and women instead and I can tell you it was so much better.

This sadly only went on for I believe six weeks in only half an hour sessions then I never was allowed to speak to her again because of how popular counselling was in that school surprise surprise!
 
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Layers

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For me my mental health really is just state of mind. To me it's not a chemical imbalance but an attitude to life. I've found when I don't dwell on the negative aspects of life and those negative aspects of myself I feel better.

I've stopped watching/listening to so much negative news and stopped comparing myself to others. I've stopped caring about what happens around me. I know I'm not perfect - and you know what I no longer care!

I used to hate myself for my past mistakes, for my sexuality for my looks for everything.

You feel happier and feel you can approach more to life when you stop doubting yourself and those around you. When you stop applying pressure on yourself and ignore the pressure and judgment that others put on you.

When you go out and sit in the sun more rather than sit inside. When you eat healthy rather than just crap all the time. When you appreciate the smaller things in life like watching the clouds go by.

Life is all about balance about the ying and yang and the best thing is you CAN balance yourself!

Accept that there will be good days and bad days. Accept that you have both strength and weakness. Accept that having flaws and differences make you unique and human that only a robot would be 'perfect' (but 'perfect' is actually so boring and doesn't even exist cause just like mental wellbeing it's all just a matter of perception!)

Stop worrying about the future, the past, and focus on the present - on the small things you CAN do not the things you can't.

I'd always want to kill myself because I'd feel myself not good enough, since I've lost so many friends and opportunities in my life. I felt like a failure, but that was only because I was trying to live to other people's expectations rather than create my own and go at my own pace.

Either set your own expectations that you know you can achieve or actually don't set any at all. Don't create anything that could bring upon yourself self doubt and self judgement. Celebrate the days when you do wake up and get out of bed, when you do bother to make a sandwich not the days when you don't.

Use your past mistakes as inspiration not devaluation. You are responsible for your own health, your own happiness and your own future no one else - not fate, not 'God' YOU!

When you sit and learn to analyse nature you'll notice how in order and how fitting everything is together. We too are part of nature and a huge part of being part of nature is learning how to adapt and how to evolve in your current surroundings.

Evolution is key and evolution is not something of a powerful force but by great patience and great time. Things don't magically happen but fall into place in their own time and space. Just like walking is achieved not by thinking but by simply doing. You don't think of how you are going to walk you just do it (and yes I'm aware not everyone can walk physically but catch my drift of what I'm trying to say)

"to live is to suffer but to find meaning in the suffering"
 

Donna

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@Layers , it sounds like you have figured out what works best for you. Some unsolicited advice, though, from someone far older than you: there is no one size fits all solution ever, especially when it comes to mental health. Something I’ve learned on my journey towards self acceptance is that with true confidence comes the ability to acknowledge that my path is not the only path to healing. And sometimes it’s more about the journey than actually arriving at the destination.

As Socrates said, “All I know is that I know nothing.” Heh, that’s the third time in a week I’ve shared that quote. I need to read some other great thinkers.
 

Layers

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@Donna

One size doesn't always fit all - yeah that's true and in so many aspects of society and I know it all too well. Ofc everyone is different and like I said everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.

And yeah I am young so I obviously don't know everything. It's taken me a long time to learn to cope and manage with my emotions/troubles especially without any real help but I made it didn't I - I'm still here.

With me being young I obviously don't have my whole life figured out and is related to me being so anxious and having that uncertainty of the future. Seeing others my age be productive with their lives getting a partner, their own place, having a job they love or whatever it is and I'm just stuck behind to figure out where I can get to where they are. But I'd be naive into thinking they have it all perfect.

Part of being young is being naive and thinking that everyone else's lives are perfect when they aren't and just have this inflated fantasy of everything. Nothing is ever as good as what is shows on the cover which is why we always just have to try being content with what we already have even if that is very little. That being said I'm still a fool for thinking way too far in some aspects.

This is why I prefer now to look at life as a blank canvas and not care what everyone else my age already has painted on theirs. I have no idea where I'm going and I just have to keep telling myself to stop worrying or I'll just keep picking at myself untill there's nothing left.

I just wanna have faith in that others can do the same especially from my background, that whatever situation people can pull through eventually. I'm aware it isn't easy nothing in life is. And I'm not aware of other people's situation so I can't decide what's 100% best for them but I can give advice and that's all I can do.
 
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