Jump to content
TheGrifter

Dealing with depression and moodswings

Recommended Posts

Yes! They're terrible and it doesn't get any better without treatment and support.

 

When you can, (if you can,) see about getting a supportive therapist, counselor, or psych to help. They can help you get treatment, and you don't have to feel weak or guilty about it; it is exactly like getting a cast for a broken bone or antibiotics for an infection, only it's an interaction of your brain's biology that's doing things a little off.

 

But yes, I do have mood swings, and I do have depression and they totally suck. I don't handle it very well yet, but I also haven't sought treatment, so I'm kind of telling you my own goals. I might actually have bipolar II and a few personality disorders rather than run-of-the-mill depression/anxiety, but again something for me to get help from a doctor with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had to deal with a slight depression during the first semester of 2015. Didn't want to do anything, see anyone, all I would do was sleep, get up, go to work (without the will to actually do any work), get back, play video games, sleep. Rinse and repeat.

 

There's no miracle advice because it depends on who you are, but first you should talk about it with your friends, family and doctor (psychiatrist if your doctor feels like you should). I tend to disagree with the "escape reality" option, because it wouldn't solve anything : you'd just run away from the problem until you have to face it again. I think the best option is to see your friends, rely on them, go out, try to have fun. Do NOT isolate yourself thinking "I can do this on my own" - that's what I did and it actually made things worse.

 

So, yeah, : talk about it, see a doctor, go out, and face the situation. There's nothing to be ashamed of, and it doesn't make you weak or worthless. You're just a human being ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suffer from clinical depression & social anxiety disorder. In fact, I'm in the middle of a depression episode right now. It sucks.

 

Treatment is available, and it helps tonns. Meds are a pain in the neck, but worth it to take the edge off. Counselling etc is worth it.

 

I would strongly recommend watching this, which explains a lot about what they think is going on with depression:

 

Also, if others are having trouble understanding what you're going through, ask them to play Depression Quest. It's free, on Steam and online, and is the best depiction of what it's like I've come across. Play it yourself as well if you want, but don't be surprised if it hits you hard.

 

Edit:

Also, escaping reality via games, books, tv shows you love is *totally* acceptable, useful, and a way for you to get your brain to shut up and leave you be for a bit. It's invaluable to help process, I cannot impress enough how useful gaming has been to me keeping an even keel. Don't think it's bad, it's totally *not*.

 

If you're escaping reality for 99% of the time, that's when it's bad, but 10-20% is fine. Seriously though, do go see a doctor, help *is* available, and it's worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can offer the more professional side advice, I currently work as a psychologist in a child and adolescent MH service. I will write a post later tonight when I get some time with some more generic psychological stuff. However, others advice can be equally, if not more, useful at times. Can be powerful abd hopeful to hear you're not the only one and people can get through it. Although, what works for others might not work for you and visa versa, some could actually make you feel worse. It really depends on you, your context, your depression, what is maintaining, what has caused it etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Distract yourself, i.e video games

 

Escape reality!

That can be a good strategy to take the mind off of stressful things, but only avoiding issues can end up being quite unhealthy in the long run. Other coping strategies used in addition to video games can definitely help tho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

That can be a good strategy to take the mind off of stressful things, but only avoiding issues can end up being quite unhealthy in the long run. Other coping strategies used in addition to video games can definitely help tho.

 

 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Escaping reality is totally not a bad coping mechanism, and definitely better than some of the other routes. Books, tv, games, etc, help, they give you time free, they help give you other emotions, experiences, they help when you just can't cope any more.

 

They're not a replacement for getting professional help, but they're also not an evil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Distract yourself, i.e video games

 

Escape reality!

That can be a good strategy to take the mind off of stressful things, but only avoiding issues can end up being quite unhealthy in the long run. Other coping strategies used in addition to video games can definitely help tho.

 

Works for me. I also bottle things up and never let them out, but it works for me. I'm just different

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had various issues for the better half of my life and I don't know how I feel about escaping reality as a way to aid depression but it sure does seem to be effective. I stopped reading the news completely recently and that helps me sleep because with what's going on in the world recently I was either depressed or pissed off 99% of the time and it the future looked really grim. Ignorance is truly bliss.

Booting out 90% of "friends" on Facebook (If you have it, I eventually opted for account removal) only keeping people you actually interact with can help a lot, it's really surprising how much it actually helps when you don't have to read or see the bullshit some randoms from your past/present output.

Not giving a shit about the world or people I don't know, Video games, funny YTbers, a good movie, a few beers and a Tekken session with buddies or just packing up and going somewhere (the further from current location the better) for a weekend with my GF are my medicine and it's really effective for me. 

Hell, hanging out in this forum is also nice, you can meet some really good people and have some really good discussions, I know I did and it really helps when you can just forget about the world and talk about Zombies or complain about bugs.

Edit: Also, don't self-medicate depression with alcohol, been there, done that, those few hours of blissful drunken state ain't worth it, might end sub-optimally. Smoking also isn't the way to get rid of stress, I am a smoker and it does help but after a while you find yourself addicted and you find that lack of smoking may itself become cause of stress and considering our body loves to increase the effective dose, that might get expensive... and carcinogenic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Distract yourself, i.e video games

 

Escape reality!

I keep procrastinating and I actually never end up playing any games, not even games like Skyrim that I would previously sink 20+ hours into per session. Same with my modding, school work, responsibilities, etc.

How do I get around this, when the distractions don't really work anymore?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep procrastinating and I actually never end up playing any games, not even games like Skyrim that I would previously sink 20+ hours into per session. Same with my modding, school work, responsibilities, etc.

How do I get around this, when the distractions don't really work anymore?

 

I've been in this situation a few years ago, my college grades took a pretty bad hit and I barely got through the first year with a pass - there was just no motivation whatsoever. 

I found that (while it is hard to do) sometimes you need to just push yourself into getting it done - you'll hate every second of it, in fact you'll try your damnedest to find something to distract yourself with, and at-first you might make little to no progress but just keep pushing yourself on doing it and eventually the motivation to do it will come-back.

At-least that's what happened with me, anyway.

 

Edit:

It's threads like this that really show the maturity of the community here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once again, I must press, going and getting professional help from healthcare locally is *not* a bad thing, and doesn't reflect badly on you. Help is available, and it can be life-changing.

 

I'll second this as someone who has been recommended to Mental Health services  at-least three-four times now I can honestly say that there's still a stigma around mental and emotional illnesses - especially in men if it's emotional, from what I've noticed (Not to say that it doesn't happen to women, too however) - which really makes people dance around actually getting local professional help.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I literally have a minor in psychology to cope with my depression dominant bipolar disorder.  All i can really say is that you truly have to figure yourself out in order to cope. For instance, for some talking to someone about it is a good thing, but for others it rewards their depressive mood. We've probably all seen this happen or have done this where someone gets sad, someone talks to them then they constantly talk about sad things or woe is me again in hopes that someone talks to them again. This coddling, though important in some cases, can actually perpetuate the problem if not handled correctly which is why profession help is the best way to handle this problem and decreases the chances of creating a stigma. As for the stigma of going to seek professional help. simply don't tell anyone or tell them to mind their own business.

 

For myself, I found talking to no one about it to be the second best course of action for me, the first was actually figuring out what my disorder was. There is nothing wrong with my life or my situation, but my brain makes me want to feel like it is. Thus I've conditioned myself that if I feel something, I ask my self immediately, why do I feel this way. If I don't find a rational reason or trigger then I know its just my brain acting up and that I need some alone time til the chemicals pass.  The third was just accepting that suicidal thoughts were just a personal quirk of mine. Society makes one think that if you have suicidal thoughts there must be something truly wrong about your situation, but in reality their might not be, so you create a cognitive dissonance within yourself and frustrate yourself trying to find a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Suicidal feelings are like any other feeling, they can show up at random without cause and is a natural emotion to have in some cases.  It can even be triggered by medication just like you can trigger euphoria or anger. Your body will even intentionally knock you out if it thinks you cant handle a situation, so I would recommend not getting perturbed if you randomly get a sensation like this.

 

This is not something I would recommend someone considering their self and probably is not something a professional would recommend, but i got over my feelings of suicide by barginning with myself and setting conditions in which i would commit suicide. I decided that I would not commit suicide if shit was hitting the fan or if I was sad, but i would do it at a time that was most conveinent for those around me and when I simply felt that I was done living similar to how if you were simply finally done with a project, (this will probably be when i retire.) I quite literally have no other motivation for living other than it would bum my grandparents out if I killed myself while they were alive or quite literally cause a domino of suicides in my family (depressive bipolar disorder is heavily inherited in my family), so i rationalized, well, I'm going to kill myself eventually, so why not see how far I can ride this thing and see what happens. This has made me rather content though there are somethings that I constantly entertain as motivations to live such as having a child or a wife that depends on me, but i know from past experiences that this is just me fooling myself as it only marginally motivates myself to continue living.

 

also, if you entertain the idea of getting professional help, I would personally recommend not becoming a professional yourself. After my behavioral analysis classes which i used to self monitor my own behavior (eventhough they quite literally teach you how to brainwash people) I catch every single thing the psychologist does to change my behavior which makes it quite literally impossible as I am like "dude I see what you are fucking doing here, stop playing games with me"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At first: You aren't the only one with a depression so you are not alone with this "illness"! There is no 100% cure for a depression but many ways to handle it.

 

At second: Here in Germany: Find a psychiatrist! He have to diagnose the depression. After then find a professional psychotherapist for yourself. Not every psychotherapist is the right one for you. So you have to try out various peoples to find out if they suits to you and you feel comfortable.

 

As for me there are some simple (not so simple if under a heavy attack of a depression ;) ) strategies:

 

-accept the depression.

 

-structural daily routines: getting up early, fix time for breakfast, lunch and dinner, go to bed (you shouldn't sleep more than 9 hours, 7-8 hours should be fine)

 

-no alcohol or other drugs. If you are under medication this is necessary. It's also a good time to put an end to this because drugs restrict your thoughts and you fleeing from reality. You can only solve problems if your mind is clear and if your mind is clear you know that you have problems ;)

 

-sporting activities. Walk, jogging, basketball, football/soccer, baseball, tennis, tabletennis, chess (yes really), yoga, martial arts, biking, dancing and so on. Everthing that lures you out of your home. Fresh air and daylight helps a lot and activities make you tired, so you can sleep better at night.

 

-don't take a nap. Because you won't be tired at night an need more time until you are asleep (2-3 hours lying in the bed awake while fighting with bad thoughts aren't funny)

 

-live in the here and know. You can't change the past and can't forecast the future. Many fears are unfounded and might never happen. The fears exists because of the negative thoughts generate trough the depression. If you feel lost in your thoughts, bring yourself back concentrating on things that now happens: watch and hear the traffic, try to describe it for example.

 

-use of free time. Read a book, play games, meet friends.

 

-tell your best friends and family that you have a depression. You shouln'd be ashamed of it. They can handle the situation better when they are informed and won't think that you don't like them anymore because of distance.

 

-don't overcharge yourself. Don't say "yes" to everything if you don't feel like it. You don't live for others and you don't have to manage all the shit that happens around you. Take more time for your needs. If something won't work immediatly don't despair. Under the influence of a depression even small and easy things of life are hard to master.

 

-even small achievments are to appreciate. Even something trivial like bring out the garbage, wash the dishes or clean up your room.

 

-If you made an appointment with friends, family and so on, go out there and meet them. It's not good to lock yourself up at home.

 

There are of course many more good tactics to manage a depression, but these are helpful for myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I realised I never actually wrote something for this - sorry for that, been very busy recently. Short essay incoming.

 

What ulfstein talks about is very interesting. The biggest predictor of a relapse of depression is in fact the number of times you been depressed before - the more times you have the higher the chance it will happen again. One attempt at explaining this is a concept called 'cognitive reactivity'. Essentially what this means is that you build an association between negative thinking patterns/behaviour and feeling low, such that even transient or mild low mood can activate the same thinking patterns you have when depressed (if you want to read more, google 'Teasdale differential activation hypothesis'). In this way depression comes back much easier. One way we might teach relapse prevention to people is to change your relationship to your thoughts (also called meta-cognition, or your thoughts about your thoughts) and to not accept their meaning straight off the bat or get caught up in them. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) does this implicitly by decentring you from your thoughts, but other approaches such as mindfulness does this explicitly. What's interesting is that ulfstein sounds like he is doing a lot of that; not getting fighting or ruminating on his thoughts, or making judgement of what comes into his mind. In this way thoughts pass without getting stuck there. A bad day stays as a bad day without necessarily building the momentum into full blown depression.

 

Every experience of depression is unique. As a psychologist I believe there is never not a reason to be depressed. The basics questions I ask and formulate is: why them and why now? I tend to lean towards different ways of understanding it depending on the person and what they bring. For example, someone older with recurrent depression over many years I might want to explore their life story/explanations/theories and see how they view themselves, and perhaps lean towards a narrative therapy approach with mindfulness based relapse prevention. This is because it is less likely that there is life event that has triggered their depression, as explained above, and so examining someone's current life in detail for a clue to the 'trigger' of depression might be less fruitful. Likewise, they might have a clear stressor in their life causing it, such problems at work. Again though, this might be complicated because they might have inadvertently caused it. Best example of that is that someone who tells me they have been bullied in the last 6 jobs they have... the probability they are running into bullies so consistently is very low, so it is more likely they have problematic interactional patterns.

 

Though I digress. Every person's depression is unique - in terms of the causes, experiences (e.g. symptoms) and meaning. One person's depression means they are a failure, or worthless, or unloveable, or that they are not good enough and so on. However, there is much variation in the 'depth' you need to help yourself. The basic way you can understand depression is what is called a maintenance cycle in CBT. This looks at the things that maintain a depressive state in the current moment and tackles these first. One analogy for this is that if you see a man hanging off a cliff, you help him up first before asking how he got there. This can include rumination (the constantly going over of memories or problems with no end - it's like the mind is trying to problem solve but there are no solutions), which is both unhelpful (as it achieves absolutely nothing, not to be mistaken with actual problem solving) and has a strong negative impact on mood. It might include activity levels - i.e. how much you are 'doing' during the day and impact on mood. Depression leads to inactivity, and inactivity leads to more depression (the so called negative spiral). In addition, some activities might make you feel worse (most common: watching TV, because it feels pointless and people usually ruminate during), and some might be missing (most common: socialising, because they say they won't enjoy it anyway). What you decide to do moment-to-moment affects how you feel, and turning this into micro choices can be a very powerful tool. Avoidance (including emotional, situational, and cognitive) is the big thing in both depression and anxiety - often it causes more problems due to the lack of facing other ones. Sitting down and planning problem solving is useful here. Another CBT approach would be start to analyse your thoughts and behaviours and understand their impact on you. You might then do some basic thought challenging to better react and handle situations, this involves examining the truthfulness of both the contents of your thoughts and the conclusions from them. Drugs and alcohol almost always have a negative impact, especially as they act as emotional avoidance, as well as disrupting sleep and causing hangovers. I might also look at some other factors such as sleep (where sleep hygiene would be useful) and diet (not eating and eating the wrong things will make you feel worse).

 

After this you might want to examine further in your history to see where these negative beliefs about yourself, others and the world. I say afterwards because this can resemble rumination ('why me?') if done poorly, which is why therapy can be helpful. Sometimes they can be linked to childhood, such as parental expectations (e.g. getting depressed having a set back at work - when you had it taught to you that you were only worthwhile if you were succeeding). You might then want to think about seeing if you want to believe something different in your life.

 

Sometimes depression goes away by itself (called spontaneous remission), other times you can tackle the cause yourself either by removing the problem or using self-help, another option is therapy. The type of therapy will vary depending on the formulation of your depression, though the big recommended first line of treatment is CBT (protocol driven CBT is often offered first... though I am not a particular fan of this). The list is endless, but might include mindfulness based therapies (I'd argue are better for relapse prevention), dynamic interpersonal therapy (if you think interpersonal patterns are a key part and are prepared to explore this), cognitive analytical therapy (another good interpersonal one - especially for the times when interact in a way which doesn't feel like yourself or is how you were once treated), acceptance and commitment therapy (probably better when you also experience significant anxiety as well), behavioural activation (now a part of CBT but also an approach in of itself, recommended for severe depression), psychodynamic psychotherapy (long term therapy, better for long term problems or if goal directed therapy is too intense) etc.

 

Generally for anything, you need to notice and understand before knowing what to change (i.e. formulate). Doing this will help you pick the most effective thing, as what works for others may not work for you because it might not be related to the depression you get. It's like saying you want to get fit and then get bombed with advice; the best thing is someone to make a bespoke program with you depending on your strengths, weaknesses, current knowledge and experience. You might even have a very particular idea of what 'fit' means compared to others. Your goals for change will be your own. 

 

Like I said before, if you have any specific you wanted to ask I am happy to attempt to answer, thought I cannot guarantee I know. I hope something in the above wall of text is helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...