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Old 02-20-2019, 03:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Stigmatized by the least expected


I was chatting recently with a retired social worker who used to work in a hospital. He owns a franchise in another field now that he's retired. I used to work in health care and so we were chatting about that. He told me that "People with depression, alcoholics, and addicts, are selfish and don't want to get better." Or something to that effect. He definitely used the word selfish. I was rather floored and didn't know what to say.

Another time, I was at a friend's house for a get together. She's a counselor, not a clinical therapist or psychologist--I can't keep the titles straight. Anyways, she used to be addicted to drugs when she was very young, and recovered on her own. She's very inspirational. She seemed to be the type who was able to walk away from her past with a f*ck it attitude and pull herself up by her boot straps. She's made a great life for herself.

She knows I'm in recovery and see a therapist. She knows a little bit about my history. I don't tell her much, because I don't want our friendship to be based on that stuff. But I know she wants to help where she can as a friend.

I had confided in her that I was recently diagnosed with bipolar 2. I overheard her whisper to her husband in a judgemental tone of voice at this get together "she's bipolar". His response was to grimace and spend the rest of the get together treating me like I had something awful and contagious. She also shared with me one day that she viewed depression as "SELFISH", and that her professors in school also taught her that.

To quote a snip from a recent post on another thread about depression & the 12 steps, "
I wouldn't wish depression on my worst enemy."


First I had to deal with all my family members while I was growing up either teasing me to the point of bullying me, constantly making fun of me, blaming me for how I was acting "lazy", "tired & cranky", "moody", "whiny", etc.. They made it out to be my fault or something I was doing on purpose to be bad, seek attention, or some kind of personality flaw.

Then I had to deal with friends who cut me off because they misunderstood how depression and anxiety makes me act. I've had to fake a smile for a long time, or try to counter act my depressed mood with sugar or coffee.

Or I've been accused by same counselor friend of having "resting bitch face" when it fact I don't have a bitch cell in my body; it's the depression unfortunately seeping out onto my facial expression on the days when I just can't fake a smile.

Or my anxiety gets misunderstood as "this person is anxious which means she's doing something wrong or lying or is crazy" which is none of those things. Here's just one of many examples: My husband's relative once followed me to her bathroom and practically stood outside listening/watching for me but sneaking away as soon as she see me come out. WTF. My gut told me that my anxiety makes people suspicious of me. Which just makes my anxiety that much worse.

Then I finally get to AA and learn how to be authentic instead of hiding my true self or people pleasing. But in AA, I was told repeatedly that depression is selfish and self-centered, anxiety means I'm not trusting God, and that both depression and anxiety mean I'm in ego/my alcoholism and not in spirit/the God within.

I think I wrote once before on here that I had a panic attack 3/4's of the way through an MRI, and my former's sponsor's reaction was a very cold matter of fact "well you didn't invite God." Once again, my panic attack was my fault.

I don't know why this memory keeps coming up, but I once had a next door neighbor I was good friends with. We used to work out together. One time, I was so drained after a 12-step meeting that I called her up and told her that I was very sorry but I was completely drained and not up to working out. She proceeded to basically curse me out for cancelling on her and accused me of selfishly wanting to take a nap instead of keeping my commitment. Our friendship suffered after that. The majority of my friendships and relationships have suffered over the years due to my depression and anxiety. Only a very small handful of people in my life have been able to look past it and see the real me underneath. And none of them family members.

Depression sometimes makes me late. Which makes people think I am disrespectful of their time and disrespectful of them. I've driven way above the speed limit in the past just so I don't p*ss people off when trying to get out of bed to take a shower, brush my teeth, and try to look presentable and cover up my depression and anxiety. (Nowadays if that happens, I call. And my therapist reminds me if I'm feeling depressed, to try to be ready 15 minutes sooner).

I forget things. And then I'm constantly teased by family or "friends" about being ditzy or absent-minded. One time I hadn't seen a family member in a number of years, and the first thing she did was very loudly and arrogantly point out something trivial that I forgot. My best friends in high school used to tease me constantly of being ditzy and absent minded. I don't mind being teased in a friendly elbow jabbing sort of way. (I miss my ex brother in law who was like that). But my friends and family did it to another level. To put me down and raise themselves up.

People take how my depression/anxiety makes me act personally, like that I don't care or something. Or I'm too depressed to send cards, answer letters, or keep in touch. Yes something as simple as going to the store, buying a card, filling it out and mailing it can be challenging for someone with depression. Yet everyone just thinks you don't care. When your depressed and anxious thoughts completely overwhelm you and suck you down into that big black hole, it's hard to be a good friend. And then people misunderstand you.

The simple act of picking up the phone to say hello to someone is challenging. Sometimes I've been able to fake not being depressed for a few minutes, but other times it's just impossible to put on a happy face and have a friendly conversation when depressed. It sucks the energy out of you when you have to go to work and deal with people and not let them see a single dot of depression slip out of you. No one wants to deal with a depressed person. They think what's wrong with you, snap out of it, get over it, you have a lot to be happy about. They blame you for your depression. Would you blame someone for being diabetic?

I was very honest with my GP years ago when I first had to tell him my history. I told him *everything*. I know a lot of people withhold or lie. I didn't. I respect health care professionals. I am fortunate that he respects me. But I hate that my medical history is now out there for everyone to read (a neighbor of mine is on staff there), stigmatize me for, gossip about, or whatever.

When I was in middle school, I was very depressed for a number of reasons. It got so bad that I wasn't taking care of my hygiene and my grades were dropping really bad. I was sleeping a lot and often missed the bus because I just couldn't get out of bed. My mother and family members treated me like I was being "moody", "attention-seeking," and "lazy". I was ignored by 99% of adults who could've helped me.

In college I was a pro at hiding my depression and anxiety. But I still had trouble getting out of bed from it. There was a teacher who warned us he'd drop us a grade if we were always late. It was an early class. I was always 5-10 minutes late because depression and anxiety sucked the life out of me. He said we should tell him if there was a reason for being late. I had no self-awareness at the time that that's why I was late, because I was raised to believe my feelings didn't matter, only my parents' feelings mattered, stuff my feelings in, and be good, be good, be good, be good.... which meant put a ******* smile on your face, clasp your hands together on your lap, sit up straight and don't make your parents look bad. Being depressed or anxious made them look bad. And made them say that I was bad. Truth is I was a good kid. But I didn't believe it until a therapist said it. And that my depression and anxiety WERE NOT MY FAULT.

It took me a very long time to admit to my depression and anxiety. I still to do this day have difficulty with it because of being made to feel like it was my fault, a character flaw, etc. And then with my experience in AA over it, it's made that even worse.

When will the stigma end?

I'm ****** just sick and tired of it.
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Last edited by Opivotal; 02-22-2019 at 07:17 AM. Reason: Rule#9
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Old 02-21-2019, 06:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sorry my post was so long. I was in a bad headspace when I wrote it. :-( Then again it was good to get honest about depression/anxiety for once.

I am eager to see what others post here. I'm just really tired of it all.


How many of you have lost family and friends (or jobs) over your depression and anxiety? I can't be honest about it because then the stigma starts. And I don't know how not to be misunderstood due to it.
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Old 02-21-2019, 03:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I didn't share cos I don't have a lot of experience with this - I never really speak about my mental health to anyone but my doctors and cousnellors and I've been lucky to have mostly good ones.

but, whether it be disability, addiction, mental health or something else, its my experience that unless someones walked in your shoes they really have no idea of what you're facing.

That includes friends and family - and goes double for counsellors social workers and anyone else 'professionally' who you'd expect empathy and compassion from.

Often it's just not there.

I've learned to build and use my own support network full of people who 'get it' and get me.

They don't need to agree with every thought I have (in fact it's good that some of my thoughts be challenged) but they need to understand where those thoughts are coming from.

It's no flaw in you PTF

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Old 02-21-2019, 06:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't really get into all of that at AA. IMO, it's not going to be productive. Maybe one on one with a sponsor, but I wouldn't choose to stand up and say "I have depression" at an AA meeting. I can't explain it. I just wouldn't.

plenty of social workers get burned out and just hate everyone by the end of their careers. One of the most judgemental people I know used to be a SW. However, the ones I work with are quite lovely and the complete opposite. Every profession has bad apples.

The fact is, most people just don't understand depression, so I don't often explain myself. I've found it to be quite like getting stuck in quicksand, with the wrong person, you're just explaining and explaining and they're not getting it, and you're just getting buried. It's not productive.
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Old 02-22-2019, 04:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I concur that people who have not been through severe, prolonged depression just are incapable of understanding what it does to a person, and I can relate to some of your experiences with others. This is similar to trying to comprehend what it is that addiction does to people when you simply don't know. Put them together ... but let's not go there today.

I am fortunate that medication and therapy has done a lot for me in dealing with my depression and anxiety disorder. How well the maladies in this area are controlled or are relieved differs much between individuals. I can not drink and somebody may not really notice, but if I have that "face" people do get the body language immediately. When my brain function is fogged by anxiety (or by medication), people react to that, too. I react to those things, and when I do it's usually some form of withdrawal from the situation around me, even in the past to the point of dissociation. I tend to protect myself as much as possible from being stigmatized by only addressing my experience in such matters to my closest people, and after a serious conversation with my family, they know when not to push my buttons by suggesting things that aren't going to make me feel better in that moment.

Some people, I just ignore what they say about addiction, depression and other mental disorders.

I hope that in society at large we will see less stigma around people who are going through addiction recovery or who are trying daily to manage their mental function. The popular media can help with that, but sometimes they just further the notion that we are selfish and maladapted to living in the normal world. I wish we didn't have to be part of a secret world to such an extent.
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Old 02-22-2019, 11:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing at such a deep level.

All of these experiences are a part of who you are today.

My depression and anxiety had more than a ripple effect on every facet of my life.

They fed my already low self-esteem (probably emanating from growing up in an alcoholic family).

They robbed me of my natural ambition to do well at my academic and professional pursuits.

They made me miserable all the time.

My alcoholism, incidentally, contributed to each of these undesirable results and magnified their effects.

Then I got sober and vigorously pursued the AA program, as I still do.

But my chronic episodic bouts of depression continued, as did my omnipresent anxiety.

They had horrible impacts on my professional and personal relationships.

After 11 years of sobriety, I finally sought help for my depression and GAD.

Now, I am able to be effective in my work, I experience natural outbursts of laughter when having fun with my wife and other friends, I make time to exercise and read.

My life has gotten better.

I would very much like to be "normal" and not have depression and GAD, but I do, so I seek and take all the help I can for these 2 odious conditions.

That help has worked for me.
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Old 02-27-2019, 12:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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UGH!!! That absolutely disgusts me. Depression and anxiety are very real and sometimes very uncontrollable. I lost my father, my son, and 6 other people in 5 years and all the while used a drug (non-prescription) to numb my feelings. Now I’m sober off the drug and my depression and anxiety is at an all time high. I don’t make it to work many days. Many days I want to just escape and I just cry. But the one thing we can do is keep persevering (easier said than done) and keep ONLY supportive people in our lives. When I was in rehab I realized that I had three of the best friends in the world and some very supportive coworkers. Just stand by your beliefs, see a psychologist and psychiatrist and Lean on us. Please feel free to vent to me at anytime! I wish you all the best.
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Old 03-01-2019, 03:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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UGH!!! That absolutely disgusts me. Depression and anxiety are very real and sometimes very uncontrollable.
Yeah it sucks. I hope the next generations will understand it better.

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I lost my father, my son, and 6 other people in 5 years and all the while used a drug (non-prescription) to numb my feelings. Now I’m sober off the drug and my depression and anxiety is at an all time high. I don’t make it to work many days. Many days I want to just escape and I just cry. But the one thing we can do is keep persevering (easier said than done) and keep ONLY supportive people in our lives.
Wow I am so sorry for your losses. That's a lot to go through.

Don't beat yourself up for being on a drug to numb your feelings. Be grateful for the self-awareness and the chance to change going forward.

Be kind with yourself. You are learning how to feel your feelings and not stuff them down. It will get easier.

I am happy for you that you have supportive people in your life. Good for you for not keeping unsupportive people around.

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When I was in rehab I realized that I had three of the best friends in the world and some very supportive coworkers. Just stand by your beliefs, see a psychologist and psychiatrist and Lean on us. Please feel free to vent to me at anytime! I wish you all the best.
My previous therapist often used to talk about having a support system.

Thank you! I wish you all the best too.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I am going to come at this as a person who has anxiety but not depression. I see two things happening. One is that people who are not depressed cannot understand it. I usto have this mindset: I don't understand that even if you are depressed why you cannot still get up and be on time. You don't have to like it or feel good about it, but we still have to do what we have to do to get through life. However, once I actually educated myself about depression, I was more able to understand.

To do so, one has to be willing to let go of their own stigmas and let go of judging others. It's not so easy to do. One also has to take the time to learn about depression and apply it to a friendship or family member who is dealing with such a thing.

My point, people are selfish and wrapped up in themselves. Most don't want to take the time to learn. Most don't have the empathy they need to have. People live in their own little bubbles and unless things affect them, they just ignore the rest and move on in their bubble. It's not a good thing.

I do know a couple of people with Bipolar. There is some aspect of selfishness to it because both of them are very reluctant to take their medications, which is 100% absolutely necessary, for the rest of their lives. Even though they know what will happen, and even though they know their families will go through hell, they still do this because they do want the mania in some ways. That is not a judgement, just the truth.

My responsibility with that statement is to say that even though those two people are being selfish in that way, I recognize that not all people with Bipolar are selfish. Some are not. Many people without Bipolar are even more selfish.

I do think it's your responsibility to do what you can in your own lifestyle to combat the affects of depression. Don't take early classes for example. Give yourself extra time. I do also think you should be honest with others, and if they don't like it, maybe they are the wrong people to have in your life. Blood does not make family, those that love and cherish you make family. One has to steel themselves against it, and realize that some people are ignorant. I don't mean that as a criticism, but the true meaning of ignorant, in that they just don't have the knowledge to understand what you are going through.

I also think it's important to recognize that Personality Disorders are very rarely cured. So people who have worked in the field get burned out. They see many, many more people carry on in a destructive way rather than reach for wellness. That pegs those people as selfish. Those who have worked in the field for a long time get burned out and it taints their personality and creates those stigmas against people who don't deserve it.

Wow. I did not at all mean for this to be so long. I just want you to know I am here, reading this, and I support you. Isolation is toxic. I am glad you came and shared this. You are not alone. I don't suffer with depression but do have General Anxiety Disorder. At times it flares up so badly that I know I am not rational, and I cannot seem to help it. I have learned tools to use to combat that, but I know when it happens I have worn out those who love me at times. They still love me, but they definitely don't always understand it.

Sending you a big hug. The world is not against you, even if it feels that way sometimes.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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That's just sad. The world is full of people with opinions. And unless asked they should just keep them to themselves.
I think you need less cruel people around you. I have struggled with depression the last 2 years and my doctor and therapist are still trying to figure out if I maybe bipolar.
If anyone said to me what was said to you I am afraid I would have to excuse myself and pretty much replace them with some compassionate friends and aquaintences.
The stigma is alive and well I'm afraid. Those people should just be grateful they haven't lived it or lost someone who suffered from it.
I'm sorry you have had to deal with that.
I have pretty strong opinions about people who are not medical doctors giving advice on medications. Right up there with people telling someone what their spiritual relationships should be. But I keep that to myself unless they force me in to that conversation. Otherwise I keep my opinions to myself too.
I think I would have told Mr Healthcare that his label of selfishness is an interesting theory and congratulate him on solving a leading cause of death in the country.
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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That is awful. I'm so sorry. I know how insensitive and cruel people can be. I'm like Dee in that respect, I don't discuss my mental health issues except with my doctors or someone I can truly trust. Unfortunately there is a lot of ignorance around this subject and judgement sometimes.
Hang in there. You have support here.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:31 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Sober for 27 years and in treatment for major depression the entire time. I'm very selective about sharing personal information about addiction and depression, even in AA. There are so many people who have no comprehension about these diseases and say stupid things. I let the stuff go.
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hopeful4 View Post
I am going to come at this as a person who has anxiety but not depression. I see two things happening. One is that people who are not depressed cannot understand it. I usto have this mindset: I don't understand that even if you are depressed why you cannot still get up and be on time. You don't have to like it or feel good about it, but we still have to do what we have to do to get through life. However, once I actually educated myself about depression, I was more able to understand.
I appreciate your honesty. I had a relative who had anxiety but never had depression, so she didn't understand why I couldn't just "snap out of it".

For a person with depression, trying to get out of bed or get someplace on time is sort of like having to walk with 500 pounds on your back through thick fog while walking through mud. It's really hard to explain. Depression is just this "weight" on you that slows you down.

Quote:
To do so, one has to be willing to let go of their own stigmas and let go of judging others. It's not so easy to do. One also has to take the time to learn about depression and apply it to a friendship or family member who is dealing with such a thing.
Kudos to anyone who has done that.

Quote:
My point, people are selfish and wrapped up in themselves. Most don't want to take the time to learn. Most don't have the empathy they need to have. People live in their own little bubbles and unless things affect them, they just ignore the rest and move on in their bubble. It's not a good thing.
That's unfortunately a good way to view it. People judge what they see, by what they were taught or heard. And they move on. Sad.

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I do know a couple of people with Bipolar. There is some aspect of selfishness to it because both of them are very reluctant to take their medications, which is 100% absolutely necessary, for the rest of their lives. Even though they know what will happen, and even though they know their families will go through hell, they still do this because they do want the mania in some ways. That is not a judgement, just the truth.
I don't know anyone who is bipolar so I can't comment. But I don't like to judge people especially when I haven't walked in their shoes. Bipolar 2 is different than Bipolar 1. I don't have mania. I have had times of hypomania. I take my meds. I liked the "energy" I got from hypomania but I wouldn't not take my meds. I really think you're stigmatizing here, just because you know two people who are bipolar 1 and don't take their meds. If I stopped taking my meds but my husband said it made me hard to live with, I would go back to taking my meds. But in my opinion I think someone who is bipolar may feel that manic was easier to live with than depressed. But I have no idea since I've never been manic. And my hypomania episodes were few and far between.

Quote:
I do think it's your responsibility to do what you can in your own lifestyle to combat the affects of depression. Don't take early classes for example. Give yourself extra time
.
Yes you do make good points. But it's a bit of a catch-22 at times. I'm trying to tell myself appointments are 15 minutes earlier than they really are.

Quote:
I do also think you should be honest with others, and if they don't like it, maybe they are the wrong people to have in your life.
I'm not sure how? I know my therapist is trying to teach me to be nonchalant and say stuff like, "Oh sorry, that's just my anxiety!" so I don't make people uncomfortable. But I am not sure how to be honest about my depression. One time someone who wanted me to call said "Hey PTF you were supposed to call me!" and I took a chance and said, "Oh that's just me--I tend to isolate when I get like this." But I'm not sure she understood.

How can I be honest with people about my anxiety and depression? Can I really say something like, "Sorry I didn't send you a Christmas card, my depression makes it hard to motivate myself to do something as simple as write out a card"?? I still think people would misunderstand. Or, "Hey, sorry for talking your ear off the other day, my anxiety around people sometimes causes me to do that." Won't people be uncomfortable with my mentioning depression and anxiety in the first place?

It sort of reminds me of a scene in Terms of Endearment, where a woman says, "So your mother tells me you have cancer!" at a party, and the other woman spits out her drink.

Quote:
Blood does not make family, those that love and cherish you make family. One has to steel themselves against it, and realize that some people are ignorant. I don't mean that as a criticism, but the true meaning of ignorant, in that they just don't have the knowledge to understand what you are going through.
They don't have the knowledge, and they don't care to learn to understand it or to gain the knowledge. My cousins are like that and would rather just think I'm crazy, I don't care, or whatever they want to think to make themselves feel better about not having a relationship with me.

Quote:
I also think it's important to recognize that Personality Disorders are very rarely cured.
Depression and anxiety are not personality disorders. Neither is Bipolar, which you mentioned.

Quote:
So people who have worked in the field get burned out.
I can understand that.

Quote:
They see many, many more people carry on in a destructive way rather than reach for wellness. That pegs those people as selfish.
This is what does not make sense to me. My depression and anxiety are not my fault. If someone could wave a magic wand and Poof! I wake up tomorrow with the ability to reach for wellness, send them my way.

You make it sound like people enjoy being depressed/anxious/bipolar or whatever, and that we're selfish because we enjoy being this way and would rather be destructive than well. It's not a freaking choice. I don't wake up and say "I know I'd feel better if I reached toward wellness, but f*ck it, I think being depressed and anxious is more fun and I don't care who I hurt in the process." Seriously, is that what you really think?

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Those who have worked in the field for a long time get burned out and it taints their personality and creates those stigmas against people who don't deserve it.
I worked in healthcare and not once did I think this way about the populations I tried to help. I did my best to try to help them. I realized something was blocking them from helping themselves. But I didn't create a single stigma against them. I treated them with respect.

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Wow. I did not at all mean for this to be so long. I just want you to know I am here, reading this, and I support you.
Thank you.

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Isolation is toxic. I am glad you came and shared this. You are not alone
.
That helps to hear.

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I don't suffer with depression but do have General Anxiety Disorder.
I'm sorry to hear that.

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At times it flares up so badly that I know I am not rational, and I cannot seem to help it. I have learned tools to use to combat that, but I know when it happens I have worn out those who love me at times. They still love me, but they definitely don't always understand it.
That's great you have a support system even if they don't understand what you're going through. That's great you have learned tools to help combat it.

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Sending you a big hug. The world is not against you, even if it feels that way sometimes.
Thank you.
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think you need less cruel people around you. I have struggled with depression the last 2 years and my doctor and therapist are still trying to figure out if I maybe bipolar.
Sometimes a diagnosis isn't as clear-cut as checking off symptoms or fit neatly into a box.

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If anyone said to me what was said to you I am afraid I would have to excuse myself and pretty much replace them with some compassionate friends and aquaintences.
I admire your inner strength and will internalize this for myself. I deserve better.

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The stigma is alive and well I'm afraid. Those people should just be grateful they haven't lived it or lost someone who suffered from it.
I'm sorry you have had to deal with that.
Sometimes I wonder what they would do if they had depression/anxiety, or if one of their children had it. Would they start having empathy for others?

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I have pretty strong opinions about people who are not medical doctors giving advice on medications. Right up there with people telling someone what their spiritual relationships should be. But I keep that to myself unless they force me in to that conversation. Otherwise I keep my opinions to myself too.
I agree whole heartedly with what you said here.

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I think I would have told Mr Healthcare that his label of selfishness is an interesting theory and congratulate him on solving a leading cause of death in the country.
Oh I love this!! I'm going to remember this.

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My bitch face doesn't rest. It activates when necessary.
As does mine. I just need to use it more often than I do.

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Stick close to people who understand and have compassion.
​​​​​
Good advice.
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:31 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Path, thanks for sharing and folks made a lot of the same I'd share (hopefully, useful to you and I know compassionately said for you!)...

I'd just add that I get it about the anxiety for sure....I really just work with my husband as far as sharing with him what it is like; he doesn't "get" it first hand, but he does "speak August" as we say and is my best partner to include in these specifics, along with my awesome psych and sponsor, too. I'm also versed in receiving dx like bipolar and BPD - and grateful they do not appear applicable to my sober life and self now.

Frankly, I just don't have people in my life that don't support me 100%. They don't really need to "get" my mental health struggles in order to support me. I've learned a lot about not over-committing, setting boundaries for myself about when, how and with whom I spend my time. Sometimes, conflict with my inner circle happens and I try to hear where others are- with their own "issues," diagnosed or not

For me, the real solution is to live my best life using all the tools I need- meds, AA, rest, good folks, self-care and so on- and to participate actively in conversations and resource communities about addiction and mental health. I don't know that people will ever get stuff they can't experience- like the intense stuff some of us deal with- and I also choose to believe that just like conversations about other things that have challenged our societal norms and prejudices etc can keep evolving and changes happen.

Glad you are here Path.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:00 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I am at least as grateful for being able to express that I have mental health issues safely here in SR as I am to be in addiction recovery. I have not come across another place where I feel as comfortable about sharing my problems as I do here, nor one that is as focused upon trying to live happily vs. just ruminating on how terrible these things can be. Because the areas of mental health and addiction are so intertwined in my history, SR has become a home for me on dealing with them together.
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:06 AM   #17 (permalink)
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^^That's so important- feeling safe enough to share. My husband and I are seeking to model this for my step kids - it simply wasn't part of their growing up (nor my husband's) as "stuff" just wasn't discussed. Very different in my family, and as both kids have been hospitalized for suicidal ideation/attempt getting them help for each of their mental health struggles is simply critical.

Grateful that my step daughter has a good counselor she initiated seeing; hopeful my step son will follow suit.
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:15 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Path, thanks for sharing and folks made a lot of the same I'd share (hopefully, useful to you and I know compassionately said for you!)...
Thank you, August.

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I'd just add that I get it about the anxiety for sure....I really just work with my husband as far as sharing with him what it is like; he doesn't "get" it first hand, but he does "speak August" as we say and is my best partner to include in these specifics, along with my awesome psych and sponsor, too. I'm also versed in receiving dx like bipolar and BPD - and grateful they do not appear applicable to my sober life and self now.
It's refreshing that more people are coming forward with anxiety/depression in addition to being in recovery for addiction. That's inspiring to hear how you work with your husband about these things, and how you've worked on yourself so much, too.

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Frankly, I just don't have people in my life that don't support me 100%. They don't really need to "get" my mental health struggles in order to support me. I've learned a lot about not over-committing, setting boundaries for myself about when, how and with whom I spend my time. Sometimes, conflict with my inner circle happens and I try to hear where others are- with their own "issues," diagnosed or not
I really need to let go of people who don't support me. I've gotten a lot better at setting boundaries for myself and advocating for myself. My husband recently commented on that. I try to stay out of any conflict.

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For me, the real solution is to live my best life using all the tools I need- meds, AA, rest, good folks, self-care and so on- and to participate actively in conversations and resource communities about addiction and mental health.
That's really what it's all about--coping skills, tools, self-care. Doing what we need to do to take care of ourselves. Putting our health first.

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I don't know that people will ever get stuff they can't experience- like the intense stuff some of us deal with- and I also choose to believe that just like conversations about other things that have challenged our societal norms and prejudices etc can keep evolving and changes happen.
I have to let go of trying to get people to understand what it's like--that they're perception of my experience is incorrect. But that never works and it's a waste of energy. I just have to hope that one day, the stigma will end.

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Glad you are here Path.
Thanks! I'm glad you're here too August!
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:17 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I am at least as grateful for being able to express that I have mental health issues safely here in SR as I am to be in addiction recovery. I have not come across another place where I feel as comfortable about sharing my problems as I do here, nor one that is as focused upon trying to live happily vs. just ruminating on how terrible these things can be. Because the areas of mental health and addiction are so intertwined in my history, SR has become a home for me on dealing with them together.
That's a really good point, Guener. I need to be grateful that I have SR to discuss these things. Years ago, I used to be on another forum where people just vented emotionally, and there wasn't much discussion about solutions or tools. It's great to have SR that doesn't just focus on the actual addiction, but on the stuff that underlies it.
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:19 AM   #20 (permalink)
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^^That's so important- feeling safe enough to share. My husband and I are seeking to model this for my step kids - it simply wasn't part of their growing up (nor my husband's) as "stuff" just wasn't discussed. Very different in my family, and as both kids have been hospitalized for suicidal ideation/attempt getting them help for each of their mental health struggles is simply critical.

Grateful that my step daughter has a good counselor she initiated seeing; hopeful my step son will follow suit.

Your step daughter and step son are lucky to have you as part of their support system. Kudos to you for breaking the cycle of not discussing things within the family.
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