Is this depression / what should I do?

Postby slick_willy » Thu May 03, 2018 5:31 am

Hey guys, I will try to keep this post short. Basically I have felt depressed on and off for the last several years I would say. I am about 30 and of course, when I was younger, like in my 20's I would feel happiness for no apparent reason and just be in a good mood from time to time. Nowadays I am rarely just in a good mood for no reason, like at best case I have to fake being in a good mood (if I'm in a neutral mood), and worst case is I am in an absolute sh*** mood, in which case I try to hide it from people and still be kind and respectful. I have difficulty connecting with people I think, but maybe that's just part of my personality. I am good socially (good at talking to people and getting them to open up and talk about themselves) but I also feel fake and emotionally numb when I talk to people for the most part. It's a scary feeling to me although I have felt it for a long time (for maybe about the last five years, which is why I quit weed two years ago, minus a few slipups.)

I feel like I have very little joy in my life, which might make sense given my circumstances but things just don't feel right. I usually feel some degree of depersonalization, where I feel like I'm watching a movie (like if I'm unlocking a door, for instance, it feels like I'm watching it happen on a screen instead of being there living it.) My motivation is good, though, so I have been getting better with my fitness (I work out 3-4x a week, hard workouts) and also recently got a really great job. For a long time (from my late teens onward), I always wanted to be a great musician (and I still do.) I have worked my donkey off over the years practicing singing and playing other instruments, have been in several bands, have recorded CD's completely independently, and also have a part-time job writing music for a kid's learning application. I wonder if my depression is coming from like a mixed sense of identity, where I work in the day as like an engineer (which I do enjoy), but I am not working toward the one inescapable thing that drives me and gives me joy. When I play open mic nights or perform live for strangers, it gives me a unique sense of joy, the strongest joy I have felt (even more than sex, to be honest) and I wonder if I need to make more time to play music since it is so important to me. I tend to be very dutiful and almost never am lazy, so I'm always moving, hustling and taking care of things, but I don't always have time for music. Is it possible that this could cause depression and anxiety?

Just to give a bit of background, I am about 30 years old and recently graduated from college. I do have a substantial amount of debt and am living fairly on the edge financially, since most of my income comes from tutoring on the side (until my paychecks kick in from my new job.) I was living with my parents while I was in school but shortly after graduating my dad got really drunk (he drinks often) and basically kicked me out of the house for not finding a job fast enough. I moved in with my sister and her husband and my nephew, and it feels a bit humiliating although they are very cool about it and I love all three of them. I am very hard up financially and should be able to support myself within a few weeks once I start getting paid but again, maybe this is the cause of depression. The last thing is I drink a fair amount of caffeine and notice it gives me substantial anxiety, and therefore I have tried to quit many, many times. Typically I can get to about a week of no coffee but conversations become extremely difficult, I am mentally slow without it and emotionally vacant and like a zombie, so I usually cave in and have a cup when this happens. Overall I have been cutting down though and hope to quit once I adjust to waking up at 6am everyday.

Thank you for reading and for your time, please let me know if you have any advice for me. Thanks!
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu May 03, 2018 3:24 pm

You should ask yourself, "What would make tomorrow a full day?"

You are mentally being pulled in any number of directions, past, present, future, sideways, thinking about things you can't control, that don't matter, or that you can control but you are distracted by everything else. In other words, you are currently failing to maintain focus.

This can happen to anyone. What I have found helpful is to take a step back and look at what will make tomorrow a full day.

Generally speaking we all have some sort of routine...or we should have. We get up, workout, eat breakfast, work on goal X, take a break, work more on goal X, eat lunch, work on goal Y, take a nap, work on goal Z, eat dinner, relax, socialize, reflect on goals X, Y, Z, read for pleasure, go to sleep. That is a full day.

What more can you do? What more can anyone do? The answer...absolutely nothing. All any of us can do is strive to make a day as full as possible. Some days we do better than others and that is okay. What is not okay is doing nothing as we allow things out of our control distract us from participating in life.

Set yourself a schedule. Set yourself some goals. Determine what will make tomorrow a full day. Focus in those things that will make it a good day, and let the rest go.
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#2

Postby slick_willy » Fri May 04, 2018 12:40 am

Thanks for the advice, I will try to look at things from that perspective from now on
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#3

Postby LondonScouse » Sat May 19, 2018 5:30 pm

I also feel emotionally numb and unable to form emotional connections with other humans. It is also difficult for me to derive pleasure from 'enjoyable' activities. This happened to me after smoking weed everyday for years.
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#4

Postby slick_willy » Thu May 24, 2018 5:15 am

Yeah LondonScouse I totally feel the same way. Like I am trying to stay positive but my emotions just aren't naturally there like they seem to be for other people. Like I watch my coworkers joke with eachother and have a real laugh and feel that there's a bond there, but when I laugh I'm forcing it about 70% of the time. I can't not laugh though because then I would be way overly serious all the time, and also my timing is VERY awkward now, if I run into somebody in the hallway I am so f***ing awkward and I completely hate it. I feel like I used to be very socially acute and although I was never popular, I could always use my charm to kind of make a good impression. Nowadays I feel very emotionally distant from everything and I'm not sure if it's getting better on its own.

I have been wondering if quitting coffee might help because when I drink coffee my personality gets way more antisocial. I want to connect with people and feel an emotional bond like sharing a joke or telling a heartfelt story and to not feel like I'm just doing it for attention, which is what it feels like. Sorry if this post sounds negative but I'm kind of at a loss of what to do besides quitting coffee and continuing to exercise like mad
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#5

Postby Candid » Thu May 24, 2018 7:15 am

slick_willy, a couple of things stand out for me in your post.
1) Too much coffee
2) Not enough music

Have a look at this: http://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine_allergy.html
and this: http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2017/02/ ... draft.html

If you've over-consumed coffee, you probably now have an allergy-addiction to it. This would explain why you were okay 10 years ago but feel rotten now. Its effects are cumulative. Caffeine has a huge effect on brain chemistry and, to my way of thinking, is worse than any other drug partly because it's become so socially acceptable. It's the first thing people think of when they're getting to know someone: "Let's go grab a coffee." De-caf still has some caffeine in it so if you get serious about quitting you've got to be vigilant about checking for its presence in things like fizzy drinks, chocolate and so on.

And never give up on your dream. Don't wait another 10 or 20 years before you take it seriously and understand this is what you want to do. Okay, it's you and millions of others. That doesn't matter. You're obviously passionate about it, so go for it with all you've got. Read biographies and autobiographies of people who've made it. Act, think and behave like a rock star. Even if you never get played on the radio, keep at it. If you want to make music, make music.

I'm glad you have a good job. That's a nice base from which to work on two things:
1) reducing your caffeine intake as fast as you can
2) getting serious about your music

I wish you all the best.
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#6

Postby DrPsychFeels » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:26 pm

slick_willy wrote:Nowadays I feel very emotionally distant from everything and I'm not sure if it's getting better on its own.


It won't. It's vital for our mental health to reach out and make connections. Whatever your interests are, share them with others to start. Mental health simply doesn't happen without connection.

Then the focus will be a lot easier; you'll get your will power back.
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#7

Postby Anewchapter » Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:05 am

I’m currently trying to give up caffeine, it’s been around two weeks, Barr two cups of tea a week ago. I resonate with some of what you say, in my teens and twenties I too used to be social and now I struggle, I started a new job a couple of months ago and feel awkward in conversation, I have to force a smile, I find it difficult to engage, I’d rather just sit and do my work but feel rude if I don’t sometimes join in in the conversation.

I have gave up caffeine before, all forms, fizzy drinks, chocolate etc... the most I got to was three months and I felt a lot better for it; clearer thinking, more energy, less anxiety, slept better, my skin improved. I felt a sense of calm. It took me a while to get there though. I find the first few weeks are really difficult, I get a lot of brain fog and often feel depressed; I’m struggling at the moment.

There’s a lot on the website below that have benefitted from stopping caffeine (you may have already come across it), I find some of the comments from others at the bottom of the page helps.

https://www.caffeineinformer.com/benefi ... g-caffeine
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#8

Postby MaryAnderson » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:26 am

It is a good option of giving up on caffeine, as it can help to get better physical and mental health.
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