1. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Mental illness - how do you cope?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Gigi_GNR, Oct 25, 2015.

    Lately, with the days getting colder and shorter, my brain has started to have a couple terrible up-and-down days. This past month has had some days where it's felt like an uphill struggle, and it's starting to feel like my seasonal affective disorder (and potentially depression) is starting to come back. I know my coping techniques, but out of curiosity, what's everyone else's? What does a case of bad brain look like to you and how do you deal with it?
     
  2. IncompleteSenten
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    IncompleteSenten New Member

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    I'm bipolar, and a rapid cycler to boot, so I never have to worry about depression for more than 4 to 6 weeks before my mania kicks in. But when I'm in my depressed stage I really try hard to not isolate. When there's nobody around I can spend time with I like to watch TV or play computer games. Anything really to take my mind off of my depression. And of course I take my meds faithfully.
     
  3. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Oh my, right in my wheelhouse. Hello, insane ones.

    Escapism. That's how I cope.

    Does it work? Yes.
    Is it productive? Depends who you ask.

    Is my life better because of it? Depends who you ask.

    I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was no older than 14. I had already been through a handful of therapists due to my parents splitting up when I was 7; preventative measures to check for signs that I might be losing my shit. In my mid-teens the rebellion phase hit hard, and the psychiatrists declared first bipolar depression, then oppositional-defiant disorder, then it was back to the classic depression. They cycled me through half a dozen different prescriptions in perhaps 4 years.

    Did the meds help? Meh, I guess. They kept the apocalypse away, but I don't really recall feeling "better."

    When I was 20, I moved from New York to Texas, and went cold-turkey off meds. What a shock this place was. It is the hardest life adjustment I am still failing to make.

    How do I survive unmedicated depression, anxiety attacks in the middle of traffic, and an entire culture that rubs me the wrong way? (Big mistake, moving here.)

    I just take my mind and I leave. I literally depart.

    It helps, being an introvert already. I've got the skills to turn my surroundings off, I've been ignoring things all my life.

    Specific escape pods I use:
    • World of Warcraft. I know, the stigma! :bigeek: It's a massive game, and for a nerd like me it has just the right things to suck me all the way in. And now that it's become essentially free to play, I don't feel so guilty anymore. :whistle: When I was on hiatus from the game last year, I played Skyrim instead.
    • Otherworldly music. Mind.in.a.Box is fucking amazing (link in my signature). Really, anything that sounds like it doesn't belong here, helps me.
    • Writing, of course. I've caught myself zombie-faced a number of times while marinating. Totally gone.
    • Incense. I've been binging on Nag Champa for a long time now. Distract the senses, distract the mind? I keep a stick of it hanging from my rear view mirror, too.
     
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  4. Acanthophis
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    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

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    I have MDD, and escapism works best for me as well. I prefer open world/role playing games where I can get lost in the body of another in a land not entirely my own. Writing is another form of escapism, but it doesn't offer instantaneous relief like gaming.
     
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  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which means my brain likes to create all sorts of things for me to be scared of/disturbed by. A headache? BRAIN CANCER! Going downtown tomorrow? I'M GONNA DIE TOMORROW!! Feeling regret about past decisions? I'M A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING!! AWFUL, WALKING PILE OF DUNG!! There's a part of my brain that wants me to believe I'm a sad, sad, pathetic pile of crap, and if it's not that it wants me to be afraid of some impending, horrible doom headed my way.

    My Coping Strategies:
    - Gaming. Basically, I feel like I'm in complete control. I have the controller, I can make my character do what I want them to do. Sometimes I even find myself giving them assurance and words of encouragements like they can hear me. It's weird, I know, but once when I was playing The Last of Us and Joel suffered a serious injury, I thought, "OK, it's gonna be OK Joel. Ellie's here. She'll get you out. Just hold on. Hold on, dammit! Don't pass out on her, Joel!" I don't know why, but it helps.

    - I read. Mostly fantasy these days, but I read.

    - I repeat a mantra to myself, something like "Fixate on something else," or "Just let the crazy thoughts come, don't fight them. Just let them come like waves on a rocky cliff. This will pass really soon."

    - I go for a walk and work on quieting my brain by using my senses. I listen to the sound of my heart beating, my lungs breathing, my feet on the pavement. I use my eyes to look at my surroundings, I focus on the feel of the sun or the cool breeze against my skin.

    - I don't question myself, judge myself, or otherwise berate myself for having these weird thoughts/paranoid ideas. I just observe it passively, like I'm watching someone else going through this.

    - I talk to people. It helps to have a third-party to inject some reality into me to put things into perspective.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
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  6. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    Positive thinking, loud metal music, approaching everyday chores as games in order to make them easier to engage with, and attempts to focus on utility over strict notions of blame and guilt.

    Oh, and prescription amphetamine. That helps too.

    (ADHD + Asperger's syndrome here)
     
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  7. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I have anxiety. The only thing that really works for me is Citalopram. Before I had plucked up the courage to ask for medical help, I found limited aid from guided meditation and relaxation videos to help me sleep without spending three hours berating myself for being a terrible human being first.
     
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  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Oh Jesus, I thought I was the only one! D:

    Anxiety is a cruel bitch, isn't it? >:[
     
  9. Acanthophis
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    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

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    It really is. I have GAD too, and it recently turned what could have been a wonderful relationship into something horrible. Anxiety kicked in and kept telling me that the person didn't actually like me, and despite fighting those thoughts (which I KNEW were false) I eventually succumbed and needed reassurance from them that they did indeed have feelings for me. They were fine the first time, then it happened again which is when the ground became shaky. Then it happened a third time, and here I am, alone again. The worst part is when you're aware that it's just your anxiety, because it becomes uncomfortable to live with unless you can relieve it somehow. I couldn't think of any other way, so bringing it up with them was all I could do.

    And this isn't the first time it's happened.
     
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  10. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I got what Link and Acanthophis have, and all the symptoms are the same. Husband isn't home from work on time? CHEATING ON ME. Didn't kiss me when he came in? DOESNT LOVE ME. Doesn't appreciate how much I do around the house? DIVORCE!!! And then eventually, I calm down and realize how stupid I've been. Then I spend the next hour or five crying about how pathetic I am and should just not be around people to save them from my delusions.

    My major coping mechanism is therapy. I've been going for almost two years now, once every two weeks, and surprisingly, it helps. When I start having a breakdown, I tend to separate myself from it and put it into words so that I can describe it to her at our next appointment. And that rationalizing helps me to calm down and see it from a non emotional point of view. Plus, she calls me on my shenanigans. I had a breakdown once, got into a big fight with my husband (our first since our marriage). I went to my therapist and said, if he doesn't know how to handle me at my lowest (which in reality, he does) then we'll never work! She essentially called bullshit and talked me off the ledge.

    My anxiety makes me feel extremely weak. I feel like I can't control my emotions and fears, and that's a weakness that other people don't have. I'm going to choke and die because no one is home to give me the Heimlich. The internet installer is going to kill me and no one will be home to stop him. Someone is going to ask me to do something that I really don't want to do (like take a baby trick or treating), but I don't want to say no and start a fight, so I agree even though I don't want to do it, but then I can't get out of it because they'll think I don't want to see them so I'd rather just DIE than deal with telling someone no! :dead:

    Ugh. It's exhausting. Anyway. My newest thing is a mantra. "I am not weak." I say it to myself as many times as I need to until I believe it. And if for some reason, it doesn't work, I exercise while saying it. Stupid exercises, like sit-ups or leg lifts. Just something to remind me that I'm strong, I can do anything, I can handle anything, I can control myself, I can push my fears aside. Most of the time, it works. But when it doesn't...

    Escapism! lol Seems to be a common trend around us mentally disabled people. Video games (the Sims is especially therapeutic), books, feel-good movies. A nice bath and good music. Writing doesn't help me as much, because I end up translating my feelings into my piece, which just makes it worse. :p

    Also, walking. My therapist told me that I have bouts of depression, and while I could take medication if I wanted, being outdoors works just as well, if not better, than meds. Something about a chemical that trees release...mSo if I'm feeling irrational (which is how my therapist describes my moods), I go for a walk. And when I feel better and in control, I go home! It's harder in cold or rainy weather, so I just sit on my porch in those cases and enjoy the smell of outside.

    I'm sure there are more things I do... I'll add them if I think of something.
     
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  11. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm sorry that happened. :( It's a terrible feeling, having your anxiety make you worry so much that it repels people.

    Same thing happened with me and my husband. Fortunately, he realized it was just my anxiety and stuck with me. Now, while it annoys him a little, he doesn't get upset when I constantly ask him if he thinks I'm fat or unattractive or annoying. lol
     
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  12. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Poorly.
     
  13. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Welcome to the club! BpD II (rapid cycling) co-morbid ADHD and GAD. There are others here, but I'm not going to out them. Have you found Gabapentin yet?
     
  14. Acanthophis
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    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

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    He sounds like a good man, not a lot of people could tolerate it for extended periods of time. The guy I mentioned told me that he's extremely open minded and that I can be as open as I want with him, turns out he's one of those people whose attitude and behaviour don't match.

    That's the tricky thing about anxiety in relationships, isn't it? You don't want to tell them about it (early on) because it could turn them off, but not not telling them about it drives you crazy. It seems to be up to chance that the person you're with is understanding.
     
  15. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I also need constant reassurance that my husband really does love me. Our relationship is suffering from it.
     
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  16. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Keep critiquing my stuff and I'll marry you. <_<
     
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  17. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    <gives everyone here big hugs>

    I wanted to give my fellow anxiety sufferers some online hugs. Ditto for the other folks here to.

    My anxiety tells me I'm not good enough, I'm some bone-thin* lazy slob, that I'm not good enough, etc. Every screw up I ever made, it uses as evidence of just how stupid and worthless I am. I also need constant reassurance, which must be maddening to others. It's only been in the last year or two that I've begun to realize my anxiety and learned how to cope with it; it's very helpful but damn, nearly a decade or so of chronic worrying must've done a number on me.

    @Acanthophis - Afraid so. It might just be chance that the person you're dating is willing to understand that, yes, your brain kind of hates you and every now and then, you have anxiety episodes where everything that could go wrong will go wrong. That any negative thing you suspect others think about you are true. And what's worst is that most will tell you to 'just get over it'. It's every bit as offensive as telling a person with chronic depression to 'just cheer up'. It only adds to our anxiety because now we think the problem is on us because we can't just snap out of it.

    * This might actually be weird coming from a man, but looking at my body, which is slim my brain says I look like a prison camp survivor. Because being slim is totally the same thing as being starved and tortured on a daily basis. ¬_¬
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
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  18. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    I wish it was that simple, but I also know that personality problems are just as much a matter of genetic and environmental conditioning as non-psychotic mental disorders. It's hard to apply the traditional concept of personal responsibility without whacking both to a large extent.
     
  19. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Sometimes I forget that there are people in the world that aren't screwed up, but they identify themselves instantly with that phrase:

    Just get over it.

    It's absolutely ludicrous. You wouldn't tell a person with a shattered kneecap to walk it off, it's obvious that they literally cannot.

    Just because brains are tucked away inside our skulls doesn't mean they're invincible. They manifest distress just like any other part of the body:

    [​IMG]

    edit to add: I'm sharing this picture so you guys can rub it in those jerks' faces. :-D I realize I may have sounded a bit dickish. Wasn't my intent.
     
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  20. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    There's still that stigma attached to medication for mental health, too. I've had more than one person act like it's some sort of failure that I take anxiety medication though, funnily enough, nobody's ever treated me that way for being reliant on insulin.
     
  21. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Or with anxiety, it's: "Get over it, quit worrying. Things aren't the apocalyptic-level doom you're making it out to be."

    True, but if it were that easy for me to just get over it, then I wouldn't have an anxiety disorder, now would I?

    Just because you can't see the problem like you would a physical disorder/disability, doesn't mean the problem isn't there.
     
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  22. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Right. And I don't know about you, but while I'm spending four hours stressing that my library book might be late and WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO SAY TO THE LIBRARIAN? SHE'S GOING TO HATE ME!, I'm fully aware that it's a ridiculous thing to worry about and the worst that can happen is I pay a small fine and get a glare from a jobsworth. It's like when you're drunk and you know you're talking shit but you still do it. The knowledge does not help you.
     
  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Exactly. Even when you know, logically, that what's happening is just pure BS your anxiety is shoveling into you, it doesn't change the fact that the anxiety is making it seem like the worst possible thing that could ever happen to you and kicks your fight-or-flight response into high gear.
     
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  24. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wonder what my brain looks like.
     
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  25. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I go on mass killing sprees. Well that is what Joe Schmoh civilian thinks.
     

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