Depression is ruining my life.

Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate the thoughtful replies.

I talked to my boss today and he seemed okay with the idea of me taking some time. Up to and including maybe months. I haven't decided what I want to do. Just opened the conversation. It caused me a lot of anxiety to even do that.

Because of my medication withdrawal and the nervous system freakouts I've had over the years, I get really anxious that I won't mentally be able to handle being off work or not having the structure of a job to go to.

It's almost like extreme anxiety about anxiety. Or anxiety about my mental health. It's so weird and terrible. So I haven't made a decisions on how best to start or how much time to take, but my company appears to be open to me doing that and staying an employee.

Just a thought… no pressure… have you considered the possibility of a different medication once you’ve finished the withdrawal symptoms of the previous one?

I have. I don’t even know which one I’d try, to be honest. I don’t want to compound the problem.

DSGamer wrote:

I have. I don’t even know which one I’d try, to be honest. I don’t want to compound the problem.

My second (and current) psychiatrist did a Genesight test on me, and it has been very helpful. It helps you understand what meds should be good and which to be cautious and which to avoid. I went from probably 8 pills a day to 3, one of which is just to help me get restful sleep.

I would talk to your doctor about it, and if you aren’t seeing a psychiatrist, consider that the next step, and get this test done. Insurance should cover most, or all, of it. My insurance covered most of it, and for what I paid, and where I was at, medication-wise, it’s been worth every single penny.

I’ve been off of Adderall for about a year but I’m thinking of going back on it. I know that Adderall works well for me. It doesn’t make me high. It just gives me more focus, and I’m feeling a lack of focus. But here’s the thing.

I think the reason I’m feeling lack of focus is because my job has been requiring me to do 12 and 13 hour shifts at least three days per week and it’s exhausting the hell out of me. If I can do ten hour shifts I don’t feel as exhausted, so I’m pretty sure it’s the oppressive work shifts that are causing me to feel this way. I feel exactly the way I felt when I first went on Adderall and the med helped me immensely. That was also due mostly to oppressive working conditions.

My question is:
Is this a valid reason for me to go back to taking Adderall?

It's a valid reason to reconsider a job that requires those shifts, I would say... But I guess some careers do.

Robear wrote:

It's a valid reason to reconsider a job that requires those shifts, I would say... But I guess some careers do.

Those extreme shifts are temporary, but it could be 9 months or more before I’m able to make the change. BTW, if I had a nickel for every time someone told me to quit this job… I’d have a lot of nickels.

100% valid.

Yeah, I think it's quite a good reason to try to even your brain out with the tools you know work.

Thinking about possibly needing a break from my current job has me looking at LinkedIn and Indeed which has me comparing myself to my peers, thinking about my anxiety and feeling like a failure. Cool loop.

Your boss is willing to keep you on even after a sabbatical, and you somehow think that you're not doing well? You need to give yourself more credit.

Sounds to me like you're doing quite well, everything considered.

DSGamer wrote:

Thinking about possibly needing a break from my current job has me looking at LinkedIn and Indeed which has me comparing myself to my peers, thinking about my anxiety and feeling like a failure. Cool loop.

Hey DSG,

I'm only a sometime contributor to this thread, and anything I can tell you is based on my personal experience.

I totally relate to you when it comes to having time off. Be warned though part of what keeps me on track is the work routine. It provides me with structure, occupies my mind, and keeps the weasels away. If you do take time away, make sure you have a structure to work within. And don't beat yourself up if you fall over a cliff for a few days.

I've been messing with drug concoctions for Bipolar II (currently Epilim, Cymbalta, Amitriptyline, and the occasional Syquet), for a while now - probably 5 years. I had some very distressing times during that period, suicidal ideation, cutting, blackout drunk days, and more. Even recently, I was close to going into a mental hospital to reset. I feel like I have stripped myself back to the bones in that time, and rebuilt myself. To get to where I am now I've tried to many major drug combos, with probably thousands of different dosage combo's. There is hope though, your med combo is out there.

Stoicism has help me a lot during that period, as well as my wife, this is probably my favorite, even though it reads as harsh;
“Everything that happens is either endurable or not.
If it's endurable, then endure it.
Stop complaining.
If it's unendurable then stop complaining.
Your destruction will mean its end as well.” by Marcus Aurelius

I've been in therapy for substance abuse during much of the above time. If I have learned anything from the therapy, it's to give yourself permission to be hurt or down, but make a plan to get back up.

Lastly, surround yourself with the best support group you can manage, don't deal with this alone.

Marcus Aurelius really knew his stuff. Lots of good lessons in there.

I love that you saw what was going on, stepped up and took action.

FWIW, I didn't see it, and I can say that in my experience whatever happens now it has to be better than what happened to me because I didn't. I didn't just burn out - I fried myself into a cinder. I hit the wall hard. Like a Wile Coyote sort of splat. I didn't realize it at all, and barrelled right into it. I didn't even see it until almost three years later now.

Between that and my physical issues, I went into free-fall. I was scrabbling around like a mouse in a Mason jar, flailing around trying to grab at all the things I'd crashed through. I just couldn't get any purchase. I was doing what I could to keep going, but I was just barely afloat and it's only by the grace of friends and my children that I squeaked by. I'm just now possibly getting my feet under me. But it's involved re-building myself from the ground up. I had to give up many things that I used to be, and try to build a new identity.

I figured out some of this about six months ago, and that has finally given me enough purchase on the ground to start to build a new way forward. Some things are the same, some things are so different you wouldn't even recognize them.

One of the biggest changes is my job. I'm not in the tech industry anymore. I'm not even trying to get into it anymore. I got certified as a Health Care Aid to care for my best friend's aged mother a while ago and I'm going to keep doing that. I was also doing commissioned art (ceramics, sewing, mixed media, etc). It worked well as a foundation, and we just opened our own ceramics studio/retails space/event space, and that is going very very well. It's hard physical work at times, but I love it.

Now I am finally getting the bandwidth to try to rebuild the rest of me. Reaching out and trying to participate here again, writing again, engaging with the world again. I'm scared, but determined to do it.

Sorry to hear about all of that, momgamer. That's definitely what I'm trying to avoid, the frying to a cinder part. It sounds like you've done your best to pick up the pieces and figure out what was best for you. I'm so sorry the price has been so high.

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On my end, I haven't yet talked to my company about for sure taking a longer break. I'm still dithering on that because I appreciate the structure of having a job and I'm working through with my therapist what would actually be best for me.

Initially after writing this I got really anxious that the lack of structure would put me into a different kind of free-fall and cause me to have major anxiety that something in me was "broken". So I was too afraid to actually step away from work, to be honest. So what I told my employer was that I would stay at least until some key members of my team came back from vacation. That bought me some time until my therapist came back from vacation.

In the meantime I started to set harder boundaries on my time at work and I got a 4 day weekend during the 4th of July to unplug. That helped a lot in my case, so what I decided to do is muddle through until my doctor came back and continue trying to set boundaries and that once my therapist was back we would talk through how I might structure a break so I had some kind of life structure and how much of a break.

She's back and she was very impressed with my muddling through and agreed I needed to have better structure first and that that was something that got basically sideswiped by Covid and immediate and 100% working from home. So far what we've landed on is that until I have a better idea of what I would like to do with my time off we're going to keep working on enforcing the kind of structure I didn't have once working from home began.

I started yesterday by focusing a bit on digital and workplace hygiene. I bought a second phone and took all my work-related apps, email, etc. off of my personal phone and placed them on this new phone with the intent that at the end of the day I could set this phone aside and get a clean 10 hour+ break from ever seeing a notification from work unless it was an absolute emergency and someone called me. That plus making sure to step away from my office (I do have a dedicated room for my office) is just about creating some separation. I might take it further and rent co-working space or even return to the physical office a few days a week if I think it might help to enforce some structure.

She and I have also talked about me trying to schedule regular 1-week vacations to try and make sure I take downtime where I fully unplug instead of this messy situation now where work and online social life all kind of melds together.

Next I imagine we're going to start talking a little more about sleep hygiene, digital / social media hygiene, etc. So that's the plan so far, with an eye on taking a slightly longer break towards the middle of August, but maybe not months.

I am going to be wary of frying myself to a cinder, but I want to have some more structure before I leap, I guess.

EDIT: Something I should note is a few months ago my wife rented an office space. So I think we both new it wasn't sustainable to have work and life with no separation. She just did something about it sooner than me.

That's awesome, DS! Structure, routine, self-care, planning and guilt-free time away from work are all hugely important, and just to see that you're moving in those directions is wonderful. Good luck!

Great to see people with battles similar yet larger to mine working things out through thick and thin. Not easy at all at any day, but really tough during a pandemic.

For myself, I finally got a diagnosis of ADHD by a psychiatrist and will be starting some sort of treatment next week. About forty years late, but I suppose it's never too late to start.

I’m cheering for y’all. You can do this!

I am right there with ya!

Natus wrote:

Great to see people with battles similar yet larger to mine working things out through thick and thin. Not easy at all at any day, but really tough during a pandemic.

For myself, I finally got a diagnosis of ADHD by a psychiatrist and will be starting some sort of treatment next week. About forty years late, but I suppose it's never too late to start.

Robear wrote:

Marcus Aurelius really knew his stuff. Lots of good lessons in there.

Hell yeah. So many things to admire about the thinking of Zeno of Citium, Socrates and our man Mr Aurelius.

momgamer wrote:

I love that you saw what was going on, stepped up and took action.
I figured out some of this about six months ago, and that has finally given me enough purchase on the ground to start to build a new way forward. Some things are the same, some things are so different you wouldn't even recognize them.

One of the key things in my sometime recovery is self awareness. I rely on what I see myself that is unacceptable, and what others in my support network tell me. There is no room for denial, it's only an impediment to progress.

momgamer wrote:

One of the biggest changes is my job. I'm not in the tech industry anymore. I'm not even trying to get into it anymore. I got certified as a Health Care Aid to care for my best friend's aged mother a while ago and I'm going to keep doing that. I was also doing commissioned art (ceramics, sewing, mixed media, etc). It worked well as a foundation, and we just opened our own ceramics studio/retails space/event space, and that is going very very well. It's hard physical work at times, but I love it.

Congratulations mate, I wish sometimes that I could manage a side slip into another industry. I've been hooked into the big dollar side of tech for a long time. My family relies on it now, so I've been trapped for a while. Luckily I love what I do, it's only when I get overwhelmed that I suffer. A combination of knowing when and how to say no, as well as a judicious choice of boss has kept me sane. We will see.

Natus wrote:

Great to see people with battles similar yet larger to mine working things out through thick and thin. Not easy at all at any day, but really tough during a pandemic.

Here in Australia we are now at our worst point since the start, delta has taken hold, and thing are actually getting worse (winter here). So easy to slip - my advice is to disconnect from the pandemic news. Actually any negative news needs to be vetted carefully.

Natus wrote:

For myself, I finally got a diagnosis of ADHD by a psychiatrist and will be starting some sort of treatment next week. About forty years late, but I suppose it's never too late to start.

Congratulations! Work every angle - it all helps, hydration, diet, sleep, meditation, medication, professional and personal support. Pull every lever.

sikk wrote:
Natus wrote:

Great to see people with battles similar yet larger to mine working things out through thick and thin. Not easy at all at any day, but really tough during a pandemic.

Here in Australia we are now at our worst point since the start, delta has taken hold, and thing are actually getting worse (winter here). So easy to slip - my advice is to disconnect from the pandemic news. Actually any negative news needs to be vetted carefully.

Natus wrote:

For myself, I finally got a diagnosis of ADHD by a psychiatrist and will be starting some sort of treatment next week. About forty years late, but I suppose it's never too late to start.

Congratulations! Work every angle - it all helps, hydration, diet, sleep, meditation, medication, professional and personal support. Pull every lever.

Bolded for truth.