cultivating friendship while depressed

The friends that tried to understand were frustrated – people just didn’t understand how, despite having everything going for me, they were confused as to why I hated my life and everything about it. I can’t remember what brought the good friends around to understanding my situation, but in 2010-2011, something changed. I actually openly acknowledged to my friends that I had depression. It started slowly, but more and more friends were accepting of it. They just said “i’m sorry to hear you’re going through that, and if you ever need to talk, I’m here.”

The open acknowledgement happened by accident, but it was honestly one of the best things to ever happen to me:

One day I was Skyping with someone who would eventually be my girlfriend (now ex). I had just smoked up (pot was a crutch, an escape, and, well, just something I did for fun from time to time) and realized “crap, I have to take my medication.” When I got back, she asked what I was doing. I answered that I was taking my medication. When she asked why, I told her. And then I told her about my darkest times – the suicidal thoughts, the cuts, the narrowly-avoided attempts, and the moment that changed my life. I thought “holy shit. If i can be this honest with her, why can’t I be honest with others?”

I slowly started realizing that the depressed version of me wasn’t me. So, one at a time and very slowly, I told my friends that I was suffering from depression, and that if I ever seemed off or detached or upset for no reason, that was why. I didn’t expect them to understand – I was just putting my cards on the table. By that point, I realized either my friends were going to accept it or they were going to deny it. So I figured “what’s the worst that’ll happen? That I’ll lose my friendship? If I do, I guess they weren’t friends to begin with”

It’s a boiled down version of a very powerful Dr. Seuss quote: “Be who you and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

-Anonymous

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OCD checks

My diagnosis is clinical depression with GAD and OCD. I’m on 60mg of prozac a day and I have a list of checks I HAVE to do before I can leave before going to work in the morning.

Its horrible. I could be running late and I still need to do them. Because if I don’t, who knows what will happen?

My main check is making sure I’ve locked the front door. I’ve had panic attacks over thinking I’ve not done this and that someone is going to break in and steal everything. So, what I do is film myself locking the door each time I leave the house. That way, when I doubt that I’ve actually locked it, I have solid irrefutable proof.

-Anonymous

smoking to cope with ADHD medications

I smoke pot. It’s not a huge thing, but it is a form of medication for me. It really helps with mood stabilization and anxiety. When I say anxiety I mean usually just the physiological symptoms, like the sweating, rapid pulse, restlessness. Those symptoms are from my amphetamines, a bad habit of drinking a pot of coffee a day, and pent-up energy. Weed helps to round out all the hard edges.

I don’t drink much, I don’t smoke cigs, I don’t spend frivolous money on anything really. I allow myself this one “addiction” because…I don’t know I just do. People say to be gentle with myself because of the trauma I’ve had, and this is my way of being gentle with myself. Am I just being a delusional addict justifying bad behaviour?

-Anonymous

struggling to manage anger

This post may be triggering for its description of ADHD and depression.

If things get negative and take a bit of an off tangent it’s because I am a walking conflict. I can see a lot of aspects on things, but I feel like I tend to get angry or stubborn when trying to take a standpoint. -Still trying to get an explosive anger problem under control!

With anger, usually I can just take some quiet reflective time and cool down. That can even be in the middle of a group of people, I will just get a little quiet. It gets worse when it’s not dealt with. My boyfriend has this thing he does when I’m angry and slamming things, he acts as though I’m not even there. He hears everything but he does NOT acknowledge it and that makes my BLOOD BOIL! I’m definitely a talker and he is a thinker so our arguments can get unnecessarily heated pretty quickly.

I have almost always had a partner throughout my life. I’ve always “chosen my battles” because it’s a compromise when being in a relationship, I have learned to adapt and adjust to the person closest in my life. I have become more forgiving and flexible because that’s the natural progression, but I think also because I’ve always had someone pointing out MY faults along with me not putting up with his faults.

-Anonymous

Being Psychotic and Paranoid

This may be triggering for its description of psychosis and paranoia.

My psychosis is characterised by paranoia. I think paranoia should be my middle name as it totally controls my life. I have this constant stream of thoughts running through my brain saying weird things like ‘they are trying to control you’, ‘the food is drugged’, or ‘they are trying to fiddle around in your brain’. Whether I believe these thoughts or not totally depends on how I am feeling that day: on good days I can brush it off but on bad days I have periods of psychosis.

What makes a day good is the lack of paranoid thoughts and ease of their dismissal. On bad days I am so terrified of certain people that I cannot stand to hear their voice or even see them in my peripheral vision.

The only thing that helps with my paranoia is dismissing it, which is normally hard and sometimes impossible. Being alone helps.

My family treat me very well, however. The label ‘psychosis’ gives them an explanation for the strange things I do sometimes, so they no longer get angry at me for being unusual.

-Hermione

Facing Bigotry When Borderline

This may be triggering for its mention and description of mental health stigma, mental illness, and self-harm.

One thing I dislike a lot, people seem to think mental illness = mental impairment/challenged. I’m not an idiot. Just because I have mental illnesses, doesn’t mean I should be talked down to or treated like I am some kind of idiot.

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Reading to Cope

This post may be triggering for its mention and description of depression.

My depression has made me enjoy/appreciate things that, though diminishing returns is in play, I am thankful for. If it wasn’t for depression, I wouldn’t have appreciated the written word.  The written word has brought me comfort. I suspect it does for a great many people.

Because I sought it out, I have learned to appreciate it. If I didn’t have depression, while I can’t say with confidence, I feel that I wouldn’t have read as much as I do now. I love “experiencing” different worlds and ideas through reading. There’s something about reading that captivates the attention. Entering in the world through words and having your own mind construct/make sense of it is…not something that can be replaced or bested IMO. It’s the next best thing in terms of experiencing what the author is wiring short of actually being in that reality as a watcher. If the novel/book is adapted on the screen that is fabulous too but, again, it kind of falls short of what your mind “plays”.

-Nemozeno