Author Topic: Fighting mental illness.  (Read 7667 times)

Suu (parody account)

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Fighting mental illness.
« on: April 03, 2020, 06:56:17 pm »
I can't be the only one right now, sitting on my couch, spending my afternoons crying.

I'm actually more concerned about what this quarantine is going to do to people mentally. I mean, my depression is at full steam, because that's what happens when I take too much anti-anxiety meds. But if I forgo those pills, the anxiety takes over and I'm pretty sure my heart is really a chest burster, but the one from Spaceballs.

The problem as I see it, is that people aren't taking the mental repercussions of this seriously. I have my own husband telling me to "just calm down and deal with it". My therapist, whom I love, is great, but even she admits that this is going to bubble to a head, and we're all doomed.

I think that in a way, those of us who are seriously afflicted, are going through a period of mourning right now, mourning for the old normal and in fear of the new one, which is a pretty standard response, considering. Honestly, I wish I could get off of my ass and do things. Really. I have no shortage of projects, but my brain is just shutting off and telling me to do the same. I just disconnected myself from Facebook for the most part. Checking in on certain people and pages, but mostly avoiding my timeline of crape-hangers, since that's not helping my mood.

How do we come to terms with this? We keep getting told to keep positive, but when it's clear there are no more positives, how do I stop myself from blowing my brains out?
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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2020, 07:10:08 pm »
This is not meant to be unsolicited advice, especially because I'm fortunate enough to be neurotypical (though I have been feeling a lot of anxiety and loss).

My wife suggested we do a Zoom party with our usual crew, and at first I was skeptical. I thought it would be pretty lame.  But as it turned out, it was so necessary to connect with them, even though a Brady Bunch screen.  We talked and drank well into the night.  Everyone was supportive, and we started scheduling weekly check-ins (usually revolving around RuPaul's Drag Race, but that's just our thing).

Humans are social creatures; it's not normal to be closed off from others.  Maintaining that connection appears to be vital.  Of course, YMMV.

Cramulus

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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2020, 07:24:12 pm »
You're right, a lot of people's mental health is gonna deteriorate during the long tail of the pandemic. I don't pretend that I have any solutions to that, or even have good perspective on it. But I have worked from home for a few years now, and developed my own set of skills for dealing with that. Here's what I can offer:

  • Don't stay still too long. You HAVE to stand up and walk around. Get some fresh air. Get out of your head and into your body.
  • It's easy to get sucked into the newsfeed. You can easily spend all day getting 'caught up'. When you do this, the information becomes overrepresented in your nervous system. This makes stressful news more stressful. Social Media does this too - if everybody on your feed is stressed, you will absorb it.
  • To that end, try to limit (or at least control) your media intake. I try to read the news in the morning, and then do my best to not touch it for the rest of the day. I do not sign onto facebook after 5 PM.
  • Reach out to your friends and family. One of the best things about this quarantine is that I've been talking to friends and family I have drifted apart from. I think most of us did that in the first week, but then we tend to let it taper off as this lifestyle becomes normalized. Don't! Take the time to call your friends and catch up verbally, even if it's just dumb small talk.
  • Remember -- it doesn't help to worry about things that aren't under your control. You can wash your hands, you can social-distance, you can be safe... but you can't affect what Trump is doing, what's going on nationally.. don't let yourself get too worked up over these things.
  • Just like the body subsists on food, the mind subsists on impressions. Right now, most of us are doing the same shit every day, and that's making our minds hungry. It can be really helpful to get some new impressions... Pick up a new hobby, make a new dish, go somewhere new--your mind will relax a little bit just because it's getting different food. These days I'm trying to just go on a night-time drive around town, picking a new area every week. I spend maybe 15-20 minutes just driving around and listening to music, no destination or goal. Then I come home, and home feels fresh. It's been really helpful for me.
  • Pick a few small goals, things to look forward to. Schedule something for a week from now, even if you can do it today. Next friday, we're gonna have steak. Yes, we could have it tonight, but I'm letting anticipation build up.


Suu (parody account)

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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2020, 07:40:14 pm »
My wife suggested we do a Zoom party with our usual crew, and at first I was skeptical. I thought it would be pretty lame.  But as it turned out, it was so necessary to connect with them, even though a Brady Bunch screen.  We talked and drank well into the night.  Everyone was supportive, and we started scheduling weekly check-ins (usually revolving around RuPaul's Drag Race, but that's just our thing).


I did this on Saturday with my friends in San Diego, and it was more fun than it should have been, but then when Jeff when to bed, I had a hard crash, I mean, HARD crash into depression.

  • Don't stay still too long. You HAVE to stand up and walk around. Get some fresh air. Get out of your head and into your body.
  • It's easy to get sucked into the newsfeed. You can easily spend all day getting 'caught up'. When you do this, the information becomes overrepresented in your nervous system. This makes stressful news more stressful. Social Media does this too - if everybody on your feed is stressed, you will absorb it.
  • To that end, try to limit (or at least control) your media intake. I try to read the news in the morning, and then do my best to not touch it for the rest of the day. I do not sign onto facebook after 5 PM.
  • Reach out to your friends and family. One of the best things about this quarantine is that I've been talking to friends and family I have drifted apart from. I think most of us did that in the first week, but then we tend to let it taper off as this lifestyle becomes normalized. Don't! Take the time to call your friends and catch up verbally, even if it's just dumb small talk.
  • Remember -- it doesn't help to worry about things that aren't under your control. You can wash your hands, you can social-distance, you can be safe... but you can't affect what Trump is doing, what's going on nationally.. don't let yourself get too worked up over these things.
  • Just like the body subsists on food, the mind subsists on impressions. Right now, most of us are doing the same shit every day, and that's making our minds hungry. It can be really helpful to get some new impressions... Pick up a new hobby, make a new dish, go somewhere new--your mind will relax a little bit just because it's getting different food. These days I'm trying to just go on a night-time drive around town, picking a new area every week. I spend maybe 15-20 minutes just driving around and listening to music, no destination or goal. Then I come home, and home feels fresh. It's been really helpful for me.
  • Pick a few small goals, things to look forward to. Schedule something for a week from now, even if you can do it today. Next friday, we're gonna have steak. Yes, we could have it tonight, but I'm letting anticipation build up.



I guess that anticipation thing makes sense. I mean, I was super looking forward to my conferences this summer, and now they're both vaporized. I feel terrible that Jeff can't come with me to the UK next year now, because that's when it's been postponed, and having no idea when we can travel again is killing me right now. He's neurotypical, and is taking things in such mellow stride it is upsetting me because I feel like he doesn't understand.

I tried to go for walks, Navy Police yelled at me, plus, the pollen count here is so fucking high, I don't know what to do. Normally this time of year, I try to go to the beach and get a considerable amount of sun to shake off the winter blues and get a tan for the military balls, ope, look what happened! No beach, no balls.

I mean, my best friend lives in Mississippi. This is the closest we've been in years and we've been lucky to see each other twice in the last year. Thanks to NOT having a super jealous and abusive husband anymore, I can travel to go see him, and I'm going to make that trip this summer, but it's the anxiety of driving that 10 hours versus flying 3 that sucks as well. Honestly, I'm doing everything in my power to just not get in the car and go, but I can't afford to put both of us at risk. Matt will be there at the end of this.

I think a lot of my issues stem from the fact that my life was going to be amazing this summer. I got chosen to speak at Oxford University, and now...POOF. We had this whole amazing trip, and it's gone. He's gonna be deploying on the regular again next year so...wtf is the point?

I don't see us getting out of this by the summer, and I feel by that point, there isn't going to be a world left to see.
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Cramulus

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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2020, 07:57:24 pm »
I think a lot of my issues stem from the fact that my life was going to be amazing this summer. I got chosen to speak at Oxford University, and now...POOF. We had this whole amazing trip, and it's gone. He's gonna be deploying on the regular again next year so...wtf is the point?

I don't see us getting out of this by the summer, and I feel by that point, there isn't going to be a world left to see.

I feels ya. Right now I'm about to pull the trigger & postpone my wedding by like 6-8 months. Because who knows if we will be able to have 100+ person gatherings in September. Why put down deposits while the world is like this?



My wife suggested we do a Zoom party with our usual crew, and at first I was skeptical. I thought it would be pretty lame.  But as it turned out, it was so necessary to connect with them, even though a Brady Bunch screen.  We talked and drank well into the night.  Everyone was supportive, and we started scheduling weekly check-ins (usually revolving around RuPaul's Drag Race, but that's just our thing).

Humans are social creatures; it's not normal to be closed off from others.  Maintaining that connection appears to be vital.  Of course, YMMV.

same here -- my family is now doing a weekly zoom. And at first, I was kind of annoyed by it... but then it turned out to be fun. Furthermore, I realized that I am helping out my lonely grandma just by being there. So then I was like -- fuck it -- I will sit in front of a camera and smile for eleven consecutive hours if it even marginally de-stresses the rest of my family.

My anxious friend says that it's been really helpful just to have people check on him, makes him feel less alone. And when I'm worrying about him, I'm not worrying about me. So even if you can't pull yourself out of the hole, maybe you can give someone else a boost.

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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2020, 12:29:12 am »
Just checking-in here. I guess the things I’m looking-out for at the moment are the nearly total loss of structure and community. Not that I have loads of those anyhow, but following the “spag signal” (love that phrase) here has been really helpful. I’m gonna work on that zoom thing since I did upgrade all my tronics this year. Otherwise, I’m forgoing traditional nicotine and alcohol coping mechanisms and avoiding the pills. Had to break the stay at home quarantine thing yesterday and tried to sneak a walk on the beach. Timing was wrong and I was politely asked to leave. Not a big deal, whatever, but it did ‘make’ me want to have a cigarette. So now I’m thinking of signing-up to this thing called (in) 1ntherooms.kom, just to make sure I don’t start any bad habits up again. Because you never know, I am a filthy human being.

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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2020, 12:38:22 am »
as the days go on I'm having a hard time mainly with the opposite of all these problems. Idk what sort of thing is responsible, but i have always had a strong need to be able to retreat somewhere and he completely alone, and you'd think I could get that these days but no. I live with my girlfriend in a very small space and neither of us ever leaves for work and it's irresponsible to leave for socializing reasons so it's all day, every day, and all night sharing this tiny space and it's driving me fucking crazy.
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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2020, 01:07:36 am »
So I've been working from home for about 8 months now. I also don't go out much, so essentially I was self-isolating before it was big and popular.

With that said, this is what I do:

1) Keep a fairly strict routine. Obviously it doesn't have to be quite as on-point as it does when working specific hours and taking commutes into account, but having a general bedtime and get up time work wonders.

2) If you are working and have the space for it, have specially put aside specific work areas. Obviously an office would be idea, but just having a desk that is "for work" can help concentrate the mind and keep work and home life separate.

3) Many small breaks. For every hour of work, I would recommand 10-15 minutes spent doing other things. Cruising on Facebook, reading the news, writing emails to friends and family....stuff like that.

4) While social media is a hellhole, a combination of social media sites and more carefully curated areas to discuss interests (forums/Discord channels etc) can make a difference.

5) Work by a window. It's not the same as being able to go out but the natural light will help. Alternatively, browse this or this. Just seeing the outdoors can help.

6) Try to prioritise social activities that include a lot of interaction with others, even if only virtual. MMOs, watch-parties, playing D&D via Discord or Roll20...

7) if all else fails, listen to creepy stories of people having horrifying encounters while outside, especially while camping. That'll make you want to stay in.

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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2020, 03:11:24 am »
In the absence of normal homeostatic enabling conditions, I bought me some of that rubber-tube exercise resistance training stuff. The blue one, because it offered the “strong” level of resistance, is peaceful-like, and returns to normal after being stretched. Yep, that part.

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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2020, 02:21:30 pm »
Yeah, I should have mentioned exercise actually. I'm lucky because even taking into account that the nearby 24 hour gym has closed, there are two parks I can go for walks in. Combine that with some weights at home and...well, it's not as good as a full, proper workout, but it helps.

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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2020, 03:25:53 pm »
All of the gyms here are closed. I primarily go for walks, but Navy Police has been yelling at people who do. Parks are closed. I haven't been to yoga in 3 weeks, and while I know I can follow along with a show online, I'm having a hard time getting into it.

Jeff is also home now, and making things difficult, and I don't think he understands he is. He decided to turn the entire downstairs into some sort of maker space, eliminating any space I did have for working out. When I bring it up, he tells me to just clean it up, but he has tools everywhere, and I have no idea where they go other than out in the fucking garage where they belong, and NOT in my living room. I'm pretty sure this is gonna end our marriage, honestly. Between this, and the looming move to Virginia.

Honestly, I'm very close to just getting in the car and driving off to Mississippi for a few weeks, but I know it's not safe, or a practical answer right now, but I know that my breaking point is coming.

I'm not trying to be whiny or come up with excuses, I think that all of us are struggling to some effect, here.

I set up some sewing projects to work on this weekend, masks for my parents, and then some dresses. I'm hoping it helps snap me out of this simply by getting my mind clear a bit, and focusing on other things.
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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2020, 04:05:52 pm »
yikes, that sounds bad, super stressful.


not to give more unsolicited advice, but


remember that the only way out, right now, is to communicate through it

you cannot ragequit to a better life right now, you've just gotta stay connected to your own mental state and account for the frayed edges.



Maybe it's time to sit down with your husband and talk about what stressors each of you are experiencing and how you can cooperatively lower them.

Make that this discussion includes generous energy ... Since your husband's crafting territory sounds like part of his coping mechanism, try to keep a finger on how you can lower his stress too -- it may ultimately help curb the 'occupation'.


I set up some sewing projects to work on this weekend, masks for my parents, and then some dresses. I'm hoping it helps snap me out of this simply by getting my mind clear a bit, and focusing on other things.

that's a great idea

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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2020, 06:45:36 pm »
Quote
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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2020, 10:50:42 pm »
Yeah, the communication thing can be difficult too. Something I’v been trying to learn is making it structured so requests and such don’t just happen randomly like a barrage of signal interrupts.


Sometimes we’d set a time, 20 mins once or twice a week, to air-out grievances. Again structured, taking turns to wait until other person / allotted time is over before responding.


No talking over one another.


Started with emotional check-in, description of how one is feeling, and how this relates to affect and action of partner.


Avoided the conditional “but” statement, replaced with “and”: you’ all know how much I love you AND you are starting to reek a bit of coleslaw. Also avoided saying you “make” me feel xyz. More power and responsibility.


Grounding techniques and Somatic Experiencing also helped... meditation... noise canceling headphones (no need for that fancy Bluetooth bullshit)

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Re: Fighting mental illness.
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2020, 08:55:49 pm »
Had therapy today. We're going to continue with in-person sessions as long as there's no risk of exposure. She's fine with phone and virtual sessions, but she also understands that some of us HAVE to get out of the house. I'll be going weekly now, instead of bimonthly.

It's been suggested I get the fuck off of social media, and find ways to occupy my mind. Not necessarily crafts, since I can work with my hands and still dwell on shit, but work on other, more engaging materials like writing, or language studies, or something where I have to be focused.
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