Life after Depression and Anxiety

Postby gregorymichael » Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:53 am

I would like to share with you the unfoldings of my experiences to-date. Briefly, in late 2000 I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety, which many of know can be consuming, overwhelming and debilitating and my experiences were consistent with that. My condition forced me to finish work which contributed to the downward spiral into ill health.

In my opinion, I could ‘see’ no way out; the dread, angst and fear was so enveloping that my inner resources were sapped in merely getting through the days and waiting for the nights where hopefully, sleep would give me some relief from the unrelenting agony. My patience grew tired and frightfully thin, and was living the life of a very fearful hermit. In fear of even what my next thought would be and how I would survive that thought and the feelings it would impose. This would be life for the next 2-3 years.

Medicated and counselled I carried on, attempting to formulate a future with some positiveness. Initially that future was only a day, days became weeks where I could competently see into the months ahead. In contemplating these futures, the depressive sides to life began to slowly ease, but was ‘compensated’ by anxieties and fears that were difficult to comprehend until I began addressing them as they ‘visited.’

It was during this time I joined this forum and discovered others who were experiencing similar and different stages of turbulence in their lives. This was by no means uplifting or spirit-building, but I shared my feelings and experiences with others and they with me. My anxiety was at an extremely high level as I read of others misfortunes and as I also replied to some with an empathy not known to me before.

I constantly questioned this acute level of anxiety and could not validate it, nor could I accept it any longer. As I ‘interviewed’ this anxiety I found it to be something similar to a ‘lost’ driver in search of a ‘vehicle’ to be driven anywhere but in a positive direction. It was then I rediscovered that the driver of this vehicle is to be me and me only. No one drives my vehicle but me.

It is difficult to express four years of mental torment into a forum article, but what I am saying, there is a LIFE after depression and anxiety, please BELIEVE me; and if I can help by answering some questions I am only too pleased to do so. I never lost site of one very important aspect of the self: FAITH; not in a religious context but as an inner motivation. The light was dim for a considerable time, but it was never extinguished.

Anxiety and depression are like bad friends, when we gain the courage to choose our real and true friends, the bad ones will have no choice but to leave and become mere memories. Thanks for reading this.

Greg.
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#1

Postby briary » Wed Mar 09, 2005 6:55 am

Hi Greg

Thank you for such a positive post which I am sure will help many people here who are struggling at various stages of depression at present. I am one of these myself.

It is really helpful to hear the experiences of someone who has been to the depths of despair and has come out the other side.

I'm glad you are doing well and are feeling so much better.

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#2

Postby gregorymichael » Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:08 am

Thanks Briary,

Yes, it is positive and now I have assurances that it is possible although with initial skepticism.

Greg.
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#3

Postby kazbat » Wed Mar 09, 2005 2:18 pm

hi gregorymichael

many many thanks for the words of comfort in your post, to know that someone has kicked this illness in the butt, and fought back to regain their life, is very inspiring

I am on in a major depressive episode right now, after being treated successfully for just over 5 years, the medication simply stopped working, and my depression returned with added gusto

I am feeling very negative at the moment, feeling stuck with a sicknote and my self inflicted isolation

I would like to get back to work, as my finances are suffering badly, but i know i am not ready to do so yet, and i have a hard time coming to terms with that

your words on making the formula for a more positive future hit a nerve with me, and i have been doing something along those lines for a couple of weeks now, now i know you had success with it, i shall keep at it

many thanks again for your inspirational post

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#4

Postby gregorymichael » Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:34 am

Hi kazbat and thanks for your reply.

Something that has worked for me. In the past 6-8 months I have been shifting 'house.' Not in the physical or residential but in the psychological sense.

In reclaiming the ability think and feel outside my (then) very small world, the smallest piece of positive thinking led me in a direction to shift 'house.' As we all know, this takes work. In the physical sense it means packing, cleaning and a conscious effort in getting this old place in order. If this doesn't happen, we will have to revisit and attend to what was not done properly; and the aim is not to revisit, never to return to the old house or the place of depressive thoughts and negative anxious times.

There will be anxiety but this can be addressed as an excitement felt on the verge of something new, a positive change, a transition to moving to a new 'house.' Honestly, I'm not in my new 'house' yet but I have left the depression and negativity in the old. Psychologically, I'm now 'building' my new house will 'residing' in a place in between.

I explained this concept to my therapist and there was silence. For a moment I thought she may not agree with what I was doing until she responded. What she said was a remarkable and so inspirational: "Well, now that you are building a new house, we'll have to think about decorating it, won't we?

That one sentence was so meaningful and further equipped me with a whole array of ideas that I could implement.

Greg.
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#5

Postby kazbat » Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:39 am

hi gregorymichael

that made me smile,

i can totally relate to the moving to a new house thing, and in a roundabout way, its very similar to what i am trying to put into place myself. I have often thought about my life as living in an untidy house, and trying to reorganise it room by room, packing away all the negativity, so it is a safe and comfortable enviroment for the new me

I feel i have to make home imrovements in the self esteem, confidence and assertiveness departments, and i have put a couple of ideas into motion today, which has left me feeling proud of my DIY handywork

I am pretty determined to pack away the wimpy, negative side of me, and keep the more confident and assertive kazbat in my new surroundings

I know it won't be easy to say the least, but with a bit of effort on my side, i think i can do this, and i am confident you will too

many thanks again, its nice to know someone else is into a bit of decorating too

if you ever need a hand with the colour scheme....................... :wink:

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#6

Postby gregorymichael » Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:06 am

Hi kazbat,

Thanks for your offer of help with the colour scheme. I know the colours to emerge will be rich in life but not so bold as to overpower my personality, but to compliment it.

Greg.
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#7

Postby gregorymichael » Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:25 am

Maybe something to consider (if you haven’t) discussing with treating professionals.

“Although medication can be useful in relieving symptoms, it is important to remember that the symptom is actually part of the healing process. .......like anxiety and depression are not themselves diseases but rather the soul's attempt to resolve an inner conflict —by forcing us to pay attention to the unconscious dark side of ourselves that we would rather ignore.

This understanding reclaims the true meaning of psychiatry: healing the soul. It views the anxiety and the disturbing symptoms of mental illness not merely as a chemical imbalance in the brain (though that may be part of it) but more importantly as a wake-up call for the soul.

Healing—making whole the divided self—comes through experiencing, accepting, and taking responsibility for the dark side of ourselves in what I describe as the six phases of the psychotherapeutic process: an inward journey of self-discovery in which we allow ourselves to feel what we really feel and so become who we truly are.”

http://www.eliofrattaroli.com/main.asp

Greg.
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#8

Postby kazbat » Sat Mar 19, 2005 5:47 am

hi gregorymichael

I do not think you could ever overpower your personality.you have a freedom of thought that I can only described as " free"

I would love my soul to be healed. I would love my life to be free of the consequences of the decisions I have had to make, as the person responsible for the lives of others in my immediate care.

Taking responsibility for myself has never been a problem, taking responsibility for others however is a tremendous burden that shall remain, within and beyond my soul, for ever

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#9

Postby gregorymichael » Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:17 am

'Jung accepts the depressed individual’s assessment of his plight. No rational arguments and no pep talks can stir up conscious will-power to encourage the depressed person to step forward into the future. It is evident that the patient has no idea what to do. Jung begins with this impotence and urges his patient to accept the situation. Finding a way out is beyond his rational powers. Only the irrational soul, with its “transcendent function” (i.e., imagination), can find a way forward.

Leaving behind the world of materialistic determinism, rationality, and the isolation of conscious ego from conscious ego, Jung would have the depressed individual let go of his conscious efforts and fall into the unconscious, where the exuberant power of imagination lies latent. Only the experience of soul. Only the discovery that I “have” a soul and can even “become” my soul offers any solution for the depressed condition.'
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#10

Postby kazbat » Tue Mar 22, 2005 2:03 pm

Wow,

profound

Thankyou so much, how did you know how I was feeling? Your post summed up exactly how my mind is working today.

I shall print it and use it for inspiration, thanks again

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#11

Postby gregorymichael » Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:30 am

Hi kazbat,

Glad it was a help. I found the following a benefit and inspiring with or without the reference to a specific religion:

Right in the midst of depression your soul is practically dead. You become almost like a mere body walking around in total loss, and total inability to cope with life's even smallest chore. You lose your drive, interest, and all the things that you used to enjoy before becoming very distant and obscured from your immediate reality. You live in the moment that you're in only because everything else is obscured to your immediate awareness. You might pace endlessly in total loss and inability to get a grip back on your life. Your coping mechanisms go on the blink. And life becomes a personal cell of suffering.

http://www.depressionet.com.au/stories/afaf.html

Greg.
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#12

Postby jeannie » Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:36 am

Greg
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been trying to encourage others as I was feeling quite a bit better in myself. Now that I feel like I am slipping again, it was most encouraging to read your posts. Thank you.
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#13

Postby Spiritual Healer » Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:59 pm

just pls. refer back to my acticle posted "destroy the dipression for ever"
and keep in touch.
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#14

Postby megan » Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:48 pm

Hi GregoryMichael

Thank you for the positive and inspiring posts. I would agree, from my own experience, that healing depression is so much more that elleviating the symptons, but as you put it "a healing of the soul". In this regard, perhaps depression, however debilitating and painful, has a purpose to fulfill in the development and progress of the person. I have interestingly found the most effective support and help for my depression along spiritual paths - i.e. prayer and meditation - looking to a power beyond myself, but found very much within myself. Sometimes I cannot perceive of anything except my own pain and others have supported me with this, but it has on numerous ocasions lifted me out of mental torture - sometimes totally

I am yet to find effective therapy, although I am on a waiting list for this which starts in May. I am clearer now about what I want and dont want at least in this regard

I have experienced freedom from depression and am reasonaly free at the moment, although have ongoing emotional problems which are likely at the back of my depression, although I dip back into this illness from time to time, it is progressively less debilitating and progress, although slow is nevertheless going on

There certainly is life after depression - and a more rounded and insightful life!
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