AIBU to ask for your advice on heading off depression?(31 Posts)
Really long, sorry! I previously posted this a few days ago on chat but only got one reply (and thank you to that poster!) but things are getting worse and I just found out that it's a ten week wait for counselling through work, so am reposting here for traffic. I know that's a bit unreasonable in and of itself, sorry!
I have a history of depression/anxiety - mostly low level, but around four years ago I had a very bad episode lasting about a year. I eventually felt better after some counselling and medication (citalopram). I would say I've been doing pretty well for about three years, but the memory of how things got (I had a period of suicidal thoughts and there were a few months where things were really bleak) has really stuck with me and I've always been so scared of going back to that place.
I've had three (early, obviously) miscarriages in the last five months. The last was about three weeks ago and I'm waiting for testing, but in the knowledge that it's likely they won't find any particular cause. I am not coping well at all. It feels like I can feel the anxiety and depression creeping back on me but I don't know how to stop it. My sleeping patterns have gone funny again (sleeping too much but never feeling rested) and I'm very tearful. I go between a complete lack of motivation about my work and then moments of horrible, gripping panic about what I haven't got done. I lost my temper about absolutely nothing with my (lovely, patient) husband on Saturday. I can tell that he's scared that I'll go back to that really bad place, too - and I wonder whether he's willing to do it again (I wouldn't blame him if not).
I feel so stuck and panicky. Although we're currently taking a break from TTC I do want to get back to it as soon as we can after testing, which means I don't want to take antidepressants - but then I also know it's not a good idea to get pregnant with untreated depression! I don't know what to do. I have tried to exercise but I know I haven't been disciplined enough about it (and I only stopped bleeding last week, which put me off doing anything but walking). Having a break from work isn't an option as I've been so unproductive recently, and I also don't know if it helps to keep busy, anyway. Last time it felt like bad depression just crept up on me - this time I feel like I can see it coming but feel helpless! I'm also scared that because of my past experiences I'm making this bigger than it has to be and so almost bringing it on myself. I'm looking for advice, similar experiences and maybe a little bit of hand-holding...
For me: taking Vitamin D high dose high quality brand such as solgar, lots of walks and lots of swimming, ask the pool when its quietest and go then.
I find being busy helps, so doing baking/diy/gardening is good - you see instant results and it makes you feel like you achieved something rather than just plodding along.
Sorry I didn't sum up my experience but I've had depression on and off since my early teens (no real trigger started it all it's just the way I am) I thought I'd beaten it in my early 30's but then I had an awful year with a mmc and had a bit of breakdown and I realised I'll always have it -
that realisation has made it easier in an odd way as now I recognise the symptoms earlier and I'm proactive about it rather than waiting until the point I feel overwhelmed I try and nip it in the bud so to speak. It's really tough and it sounds like you're doing the right stuff.
I'd also like to add that while I said keeping busy helps it needs to be something you're engaged with or it won't work so if you're struggling with work please do consider getting time off and use it do things that will help you.
Thank you jacques - these are exactly the kind of practical things that I was hoping people would talk about. I'm really sorry that you've also been through such a difficult time.
another under the 'big black umbrella' here...
It may be worth getting a week or two to yourself - go out for walks in the park, a wander round town - anything really as long as it is 'out' (i find doing this alone is really helpful, other people just let me put-off what I am trying to work through)
Have you tried any mindfulness and meditation? This was part of my counselling and I have been armed with some fabulous tools to help myself when life gets too much.
Some worksheets available (free) at www.stillmind.com.au/mindfulnessworksheets.htm but you can google mindfulness worksheets too
I love this book : www.amazon.co.uk/Mindfulness-practical-guide-finding-frantic/dp/074995308X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499261285&sr=8-1&keywords=mindfulness&tag=mumsnetforum-21
and I use the app 'Simple Habit' although I have heard good things about 'Headspace' too
You can search 'guided meditations' on You tube, lots available
And keep talking - here, family, a friend, your partner... heck, I used to talk to the Dog sometimes!!
As much self care as you can. Try and eat well, and build in pleasurable activities into your day as far as possible...half an hour with a book, long bath, etc. Try and meet up with good friends maybe. Coffee and cake, or a walk round a park.
Also, I have re-started yoga, which has helped too.
Can i just mention a miscarriage is a loss. A huge loss and each one will require time to greive. I've been where you are and with hindsight what I had was major grief. I understand your want to get going again but please rest. Please take the time to acknowledge each loss. I'm sorry your going through this!
As for heading g off depression the best thing you can do is keep calm, slow down, take time out for you, relax, talk to friends and plan fun things to do. Exercise or give yourself a none baby related goal.
Mindfulness, meditation daily. Yoga is good. Listen to music. Get out in the fresh air.
Eat well, sleep and rest, don't drink alcohol!
can i jump on this thread please... i suffer with anxiety and for the last month it has increased ten fold to what it was like for me 10 years ago. I have taken the steps to get my diet back on track and am going on a run tonight! planning my meals and food prep keep me busy so i'm hoping this will help.
I'm sorry for your losses.
A good quality b vitamin complex, building up to a high enough dosage that your wee turns green then dropping back down a smidge, is very useful for depression. B vitamins are water soluble so excess leaves the body in your urine, turning it green.
Exercise, preferably outside.
As SpongeBob says, lots of self-care. Healthy food, enough sleep, enjoyable things to do, time to relax, celebrating small achievements.
I have downloaded a habit app called Strides. I have listed things I should be doing everyday/week/month etc to keep me feeling on top of things and positive. It includes health based things like taking my vitamins, small amounts of daily exercise and also household chores I might let slide. I check these off as I achieve them and it keeps a record and provides reminders and statistics.
It is a great motivator and being able to see how much I have achieved every day really boosts my mood and reduces the feelings of worthlessness that sometimes overwhelm me.
As well as this, it might be worth getting some counselling, you have been through a lot and getting professional help might be helpful also.
Exercise - planned and regular is best. Can you sign up for a 5k in a few months so you have a target, and set up a training plan?
Eating healthily - meal plan, learn to cook a new cuisine, have a friend to dinner once a week?
Keeping busy - Draw out a big monthly calendar and schedule stuff in, even if it's a facemasks and rubbish TV night, so you feel you're accomplishing what you need to do.
Some great advice here.
I have had depression off and on since my late teens. I find that talking about how I'm feeling is a massive help. I also like to think about the things that have gone well during each day, which stops me dwelling on the thing that didn't.
Making time for myself to have a bath (or whatever), going for gentle walks, and eating delicious healthy food also help.
As other posters have said, allow yourself to grieve. Be gentle with yourself.
Yes, definitely Vitamin D and B complex, L-Tyrosine amino acid supplement, lots of exercise and my secret depression slayer: do something you've never done before every single day. I have no idea why it works but when I was in a very deep, unshiftable depression I tried absolutely everything, and that was the thing that got me out of it. For the first month i just did stuff and felt totally meh about it all. Then gradually felt happiness and excitement and fun and optimisim creeping back in. And that was definitely the cause. I can send you some links to online lists of ideas for things to try if you like.
oh love, you've been through such a shit time for you
Have you been offered CBT? If not ask your GP or have a look at Anxiety UK who can offer subsidised therapy for members.
What helped you get better last time do you think? Do those things that work for you, whether you feel like it or not. If depression is robbing you of your motivation, then do something for just five minutes then stop. Sometimes if people do five minutes they find they can actually do it a bit longer once they've got going. Or you can stop and do more later. It's OK.
With depression, your behaviours can have a really big influence on your mood. Do stuff that you enjoy (read, sew, watch a film, whatever). Do stuff that gives you a sense of achievement (make something, clean something, fix something, learn something, sort something - whatever floats your boat!). And do stuff that brings you closer to other people (visit a relative, phone a friend, volunteer somewhere etc).
I also echo pp's suggestion of meditation, it can be really powerful for managing anxiety and depression.
Yoga with Adriene is a really nice gentle (and kind of meditative) way of exercising at home.
But really love, you're grieving. Give yourself permission to feel sad. It's really shit. DM me if you have any questions, but you can do this, you've done it before. You'll get there. Good luck.
And also, read this book. It's full of practical advice. Not for depression specifically, it's for recovery from any illness, accident or addiction. It seems a bit odd, suggesting that gaming is a way of recovering from illness. But it helps. (and makes you feel less guilty when you spend half an hour on Candy Crush)
Superbetter by Jane McGonigal
Get up, get dressed, get out the house every day, even if you really really don't feel like doing it
But as pp say, allow yourself to grieve
And after miscarriages you may also need Floradix or Feroglobin iron tonic supplements. So sorry you've had such a hard time recently.
I've had depression when at uni. There was a time after that I started to get the same kind of feelings creeping into my life - counselling worked wonders for me, to talk things through and recognise what issues were troubling me, really get to the bottom of why I was feeling the way I did and figure out what I needed to do.
In the interim, ask yourself this: "if it were my best friend coming to me asking me for advice on this, what would I give them?" - then take your own advice. Isn't it strange how we're so reluctant to treat ourselves with kindness & understanding when we need it most, feeling like we must battle on - please, be kind to yourself & remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness.
Contact the mc association, they have counsellors and you may get seen sooner through them. They also used to have a policy that all counsellors were people who had experienced mc don't know if that still holds (been 18 years since my last loss).
Also very possible you're anaemic and nutrient deficient so get checked and see what's what.
Not all anti- depressants are contraindicated with pregnancy but you should have a break anyway - physically and emotionally.
It also sounds like there's an element of anxiety there so calming soothing things are what's needed. Cut down caffeine and eat as naturally as possible. That will also help with the nutrients your body has lost through blood loss.
If you are given iron remember to take with vit c (fruit juice is best) so it's absorbed properly.
Grieve and feel the loss trying to bury it doesn't work in my experience.
Nothing wrong with walking and swimming for exercise.
Hi I'm coming out the other side of a major episode of anxiety and depression after a year. First of all, I had an early miscarriage too and I think sometimes people treat it as though it's a "bad period" but don't belittle your loss - when you saw the positive test I'm sure you starting thinking ahead and imagining your child and life changing so it is quite natural to feel sad about these.
Whilst off work I competed a WRAP course via my.social worker. Basically it helps you to identify your own triggers and then you can't think about how to head them off. Then it makes you think hard about your 'early warning signs'that you are on a downhill slope. Thus bit was really helpful to me as i can now identify that a decline in hygiene and beginning to cancel plans is a sign I need to take a step back and assess what's happening.the next stage is to have an action plan in place for when you see these early warnings signs and these can be little things like having a relaxing bath (never works for me as my mind works overtime Then!) Or reading a book, going for a walk eye. It's definitely worth a look. Hope this helps, take care.
I know I'm just repeating what others have said but exercise is the only thing that drags me back when I'm falling down a big black hole.
Yoga (so many videos on YouTube, try 'yoga with Adrienne'), walking at least three miles a day, maybe try swimming too.
Sending you lots of good wishes!
Hugs. I would recommend keeping busy, try to get a decent sleep each night (or at least rest in bed with nice music/good book if you can't sleep), exercise each day and eat a balanced diet. Basically treat yourself well.
Regular bed time and waking time - get up at a reasonable time even if you aren't going into work/college/whatever. Plenty of exercise. Even just going for a walk is better than nothing. I would agree what a PP said - plan something for each day whether it is a full blown trip out somewhere or just a coffee with a friend. If you are having a quieter day plan small jobs or housework around the house/garden that need doing instead otherwise the hours can just drag by. Getting a sense of achievement, however small, does wonders for your mental health.
So sorry that you are suffering- that's such a lot to deal with in a short space of time. And v frustrating re. the wait for counselling. I don't suppose it's something you can afford to do privately?... it's something I've had to do before due to nhs waiting times and has been a real struggle financially. If not- then as others have said talk to ppl close to you it really helps to get your feelings out there.
I'm also gonna say don't completely discount going back on meds and ttc. Its a very personal decision but some anti-ds are less risky in pregnancy than others. And if they have helped you before then they might help again.... Check to see if you have a local Mothers and Infant Mental Health team (I had to fight to get referred but they are a goldmine of information about medication and pregnancy).
Also if you start having suicidal thoughts please make sure you tell someone about this look after yourself xxxxx
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