Depression is ruining my life.

One good trick, d4mo, is to start extending your weekends by a day. Use that to get 3 days of long sleep in a row. That will sort your sleep deficit out faster than you might expect. So take off a Friday or Monday a few times in a row.

Just a thought but it's helped me. You'll still have anxiety about missing work, but remember, it's a health issue, it's not shirking work.

So I’m debating if I start a separate thread about my current issues with both anger and depression. I know they are related but also feel very separate.

And also just wanted to give virtual hugs to everyone struggling in this thread.

Robear wrote:

One good trick, d4mo, is to start extending your weekends by a day. Use that to get 3 days of long sleep in a row. That will sort your sleep deficit out faster than you might expect. So take off a Friday or Monday a few times in a row.

Just a thought but it's helped me. You'll still have anxiety about missing work, but remember, it's a health issue, it's not shirking work.

I was thinking about doing this very thing, for a couple reasons - I don't have a huge amount of vacation time currently built up, and I already do half-days on Fridays, with 9 hour days the rest of the week, so I'd only be going down by 4 hours vacation time per Friday. I may try to pull this off for the next month or so, I'll have to see what the boss thinks about it. I actually did this in 2020 thanks to covid. I had a lot of vacation time built up since there was nowhere to go on vacation, so I took Fridays off for a good 4-5 months straight. It was amazing (well, notwithstanding a pandemic and everything being closed).

Good. Make your plan, work your plan. Keep us updated if you like but I think you are making good choices. Turning a half-day into a full day off for a bit is a bigger ease on your stress than just "four hours" implies; you don't have worry about starting on time, what's going on, cutting off in the middle of things, maybe a commute... It's just an "I can sleep in and treat myself to a quiet day while everyone else is out working" kind of situation.

Really glad to hear of your progress and I'm pulling for you!

jdzappa wrote:

So I’m debating if I start a separate thread about my current issues with both anger and depression. I know they are related but also feel very separate.

And also just wanted to give virtual hugs to everyone struggling in this thread.

I think this would be a great thread. One of the first signs I had of MDD was irrational anger. In fact I have read that is a common symptom among men.

BadKen wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

So I’m debating if I start a separate thread about my current issues with both anger and depression. I know they are related but also feel very separate.

And also just wanted to give virtual hugs to everyone struggling in this thread.

I think this would be a great thread. One of the first signs I had of MDD was irrational anger. In fact I have read that is a common symptom among men.

Cool cool - I will put together some thoughts and open one either tonight or tomorrow.

Well, I meant that this thread that were are in right now would be a great thread to discuss depression and anger. But either way I think it’s a good discussion to have!

I struggle with anger myself and learning that it is a common symptom for those who have serious anxiety and depression issues did help me somewhat with tamping down my self-hatred a bit.

I started getting bad positional headaches in May. They have destroyed my life over the summer. Multiple nerve problems in my neck leading to me being unable to live my normal physically active life. Then sometime in August my mind had had enough and I went over the edge mentally. Unable to function with anxiety and emotions out of control. I was completely unexpected. I was put on zoloft and that messed me up fairly badly as well to the point that I voluntarily checked myself into the local hospital psych ward for a day. Hardest thing I ever did. 3 weeks later I'm improving but nowhere near myself. It's going to be a long road. I also know until the physical problems have answers, the mental will never cease.

I am unable to work for the forseeable future due to headaches, but I have a glimmer of hope in some of the test results I got this week. I have a ton of support and have talked with anyone who will listen about my struggle. It's the only way to get there and it can be a really hard thing to do. We can't do it alone.

I would rather have most every bone in my body broken than try to deal alone with the severe anxiety that overcame my rational mind for a 2 week period earlier this summer. It was a fight for my soul every single millisecond I was awake.

That sounds awful Homard.
It sounds like you are stabilized enough to start making progress. I hope they find better medication and the root cause of your headaches.

Being not able to work has got to add another rough layer to it too

I will say that I'm fortunate in the midst of misfortune. I'm able to take all the time i need off work to get better without financial hardship. I have friends and family to support me as well. I'm generally a loner and I'm pretty stubborn too so having to give in and acknowledge that help is my only way through has been tough sometimes.

It's been said before but I'll say it again as someone on the receiving end of help and as someone a few months ago never would have dreamed that I would be in the position I'm in. If you know someone struggling mentally, every little bit helps. Even a passing "hey how are you today" could be the difference. I had a few really dark days and they came really fast out of nowhere. I'm glad I had the help or I might not be typing this.

I’m sorry to hear that Homard. I at least am out of chronic physical pain right now. Hang in there as your mental depression improves it will hopefully improve your physical symptoms too.

I wasn’t sure if I should come back and share details about recent anger issues but here goes. Having a kid in high school is rough and it feels like my son hates me half the time. It was a bad time in my life and some of the stuff my son is going through is triggering. Also, my new boss is terrible and hates me so there’s that.

So, I’m in line at the local Starbucks and dude completely forces his way in after I’d been waiting for a long time. He just stares at me when I honk. I almost lose it with a feeling of rage. I think “I have to take sh*t from everyone in my life but not you asshole.” One of my favorite baristas asks how I’m doing when I get to the window and I shout how pissed I am that I got cut off which wasn’t fair to her. I tell her I’m just going to pull through which I do and then proceed to speed up and chase after the guy. Wanted to wait till a light and curse him out.

That’s when I realize the guy is just in a hurry and oblivious. So I backed off and didn’t engage. I’m both proud of myself for not confronting him but also ashamed that I almost did. I don’t know why I struggle so much with life’s little humiliations when everyone else can shrug them off.

You know what helps me in situations like that? I think of George Costanza on Seinfeld. He took the most petty offenses and turned them into thermonuclear rage. And the show portrays Costanza as an unambiguous buffoon.

So be happy you didn’t pull a Costanza

It took me decades to learn that skill, JD, into my late forties I guess before I chilled out. Just start by laughing at them. "At least I'm not an asshole like that guy; everyone around knows what an idiot he is, I'm not the only one who saw it." How much is it gonna set you back, after all? If you go after them, you're just sharing in the idiocy. Let them shoulder it, find something good on the radio or in a podcast, and zone into your driving. You'll get there when you get there.

Once you find a formulation that clicks you won't feel the need to retaliate. The angry thoughts will still be there, but they will dissipate a few minutes later.

About 10 years ago I started doing the opposite.
At every rage inducing driver, I said to myself, "They probably are the mother of the person that will cure cancer." Or "they've given $10 million to St Judes"...

I also write a lot on GWJ
That's my therapy.

That's another way to go.

I remind myself that the person who "wronged me with their driving" doesn't know who I am, will never see me again, or even think of me again, if they were even aware of my existence in the first place, so why take it personally?

Thanks all. It’s also hard because I’ve always struggled with finding a balance. I didn’t fight for myself enough as a kid which resulted in a lot of bullying, so it’s hard to reign it in sometimes.

I hear you on that jdzappa.
In fact I still don't stick up for myself enough and I'm 53!

fangblackbone wrote:

About 10 years ago I started doing the opposite.
At every rage inducing driver, I said to myself, "They probably are the mother of the person that will cure cancer." Or "they've given $10 million to St Judes"...

I also write a lot on GWJ
That's my therapy.

I try -- with varying success -- to do a similar type of "assume the best intentions" approach by trying to think along the lines of this ad from a decade ago that really struck me:

Has anyone here done work to try to change their outlook to be more positive? Any tips or resources you found helpful?

I'm currently facing a major health crisis that I believe has been precipitated by my tendency towards always seeking out the worst case scenario and ruminating on it. I've been working to rewire how I think and I would welcome tips on this, what worked for you, etc.

Just curious because DSGamer's post got me thinking about ads I've been seeing about green noise and pink noise apps. Anyone have any experience with green noise for de-stress?

Are you still bike riding DSGamer? I ask because I am totally addicted to electric scooters. The joy and freedom of riding them is top notch. I figure you get similar sensations from bicycles, no?

DSGamer wrote:

Has anyone here done work to try to change their outlook to be more positive? Any tips or resources you found helpful?

Are you actively in talk-therapy? That's the most obvious answer to "how to change outlook and thinking patterns"

Alternative and increasingly common answer these days: heroic dose or two of psilocybin. Are you still based in Oregon: aren't there licensed psilocybin trip-guides down there these days?

Jonman wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

Has anyone here done work to try to change their outlook to be more positive? Any tips or resources you found helpful?

Are you actively in talk-therapy? That's the most obvious answer to "how to change outlook and thinking patterns"

Starting with that as a given, of course, two things have really helped me in this regard in recent years, particularly when trying to combat the extra factors the pandemic (and, you know, the kind of sh*tty state of the world in general over recent years) introduced that have made managing my mental health significantly more challenging.

The TLDR version of both is "create opportunities to engage with people and the world around you to help connect with the fact that while life is always going to be challenging, it's also full of beauty and love and fun too." Not to suggest burying your head in the sand and hiding from hard sh*t, but just giving yourself more chances to spend your mental energy on things that will be easy wins and give you constant reminders of the good things that surround you.


First, I've tried my best to engage (or reengage) with hobbies and activities that connect me more with the world away from my desk and outside my house.

(Video games are still one of my primary hobbies for sure, and in the right context they can help manage rough times, but they don't give me the chance to see the world doing well around me.)

For me, some of this has been putting more time into running outside regardless of weather conditions (which lets me see and stay connected to daily life in my neighborhood, and see that we're surrounded by good people living good lives), or finding new places to go hiking (particularly good since it gives my spouse and I a good excuse to spend a big chunk of distraction free time together).

The biggest and most effective thing in that category, though, has been picking back up a physical practice that requires a lot of time, energy, focus, education and connection. I phrase it that to begin with because I think those are the aspects that help me manage my day to day depression symptoms and refocus my perspective on life to be more optimistic and less obsessed with where things can go wrong. Also, I think these are things that are probably also true of many high investment physical practices you might want to engage with, whether it's martial arts, yoga, meditation, sports of many varieties, etc, where the same benefit can be gained. (There are other emotional benefits I gain from my specific physical practice of choice, but they are outside the scope of this conversation.*)

It's something to focus on, to put my energy into, where the results will almost always be neutral at worst, and I usually come away feeling like I've achieved something, gained ability, found connection with myself at the least, or better yet with other people. Just an activity where I get to regularly experience things going well and being enjoyable just by putting the effort in, which then helps build the habit of seeing the places in other aspects of life where the same can hold true, even when there might be more emotional risks or dangers involved.

(Also, I'm sure the same would be true of other high investment hobbies that naturally take you out into the world and into contact with people even if they don't have a heavy physical activity component to them, but for me the physical aspect brings along all the extra benefits of being active, particularly since my professional life is completely sedentary and indoors.)


So, those are largely things I was able to do entirely on my own (very important especially earlier in the pandemic), but the second thing I've found I've really needed was to create opportunities where I'm forced (or at least encouraged) to go out and build social connection (or at least interact with other humans) in contexts that are NOT about work or politics (or maybe family, if family is hard) (or religion, I suppose, if that's one of your things).

Especially with the pandemic switching me to working from home, I found myself eroding from the inside from not having the opportunity to be around people regularly in ways where there isn't an emotionally challenging aspect involved. Again, not to say that it's not important to be connected with people around "serious" things, but I needed to create excuses to be around people just engaging with life in activities that are at least emotionally neutral, and preferably enriching or joyful. Need to have regular reminders that life carries on, and that people are out there making the best of it, you know?

Whether it's things that aren't about explicit interaction -- like making time to go to concerts, comedy shows, performing acts events, etc, when it might just be easier to stay home -- or things that are more directly and intimately interactive, like scheduling regular meals out with friends, or going to events or meetups around my high investment physical activity of choice, ultimately when I'm making the active choice to be around other people doing positive things, I come way much more capable of framing every day life with positivity, more able to trust that things will go well and be okay, more part of a culture and community that I feel has more good about it than bad, and more able to counter out the weight of the world and how it affects my spirits.


* Apologies for the oblique language around my physical activity of choice -- a particularly circus artsy, performative variety of rope bondage -- but the specifics have lot of valence around them that could distract from the parts that are relevant to the discussion here. It's a fun subject though, and it HAS been a big part of my mental health progress in recent years in other ways, but that's an overly long post for another time probably.

DSGamer - Try reading Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations". That can give you some real impetus to feed your mental attempts to shake off the negativity. A good basis of ideas to put Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to work.

Robear wrote:

DSGamer - Try reading Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations". That can give you some real impetus to feed your mental attempts to shake off the negativity. A good basis of ideas to put Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to work.

I second this, as it is a step on my own path that meant a lot. I eventually moved on to other stuff (I won't mention it here because we can't just jump ahead on our paths) but it was very helpful in gathering strength and keeping things simple. Simplicity is key. If you watch a lot of self-help videos or read books, the best ones don't try to create some fancy new system to follow.

DSGamer wrote:

Has anyone here done work to try to change their outlook to be more positive? Any tips or resources you found helpful?

I'm currently facing a major health crisis that I believe has been precipitated by my tendency towards always seeking out the worst case scenario and ruminating on it. I've been working to rewire how I think and I would welcome tips on this, what worked for you, etc.

I'll watch this one too. This is sometimes a stumbling block, although reading and retaining is also a problem.

Very well put, Montalbon. I keep turning to sections of it when I need to reflect.

This is one of the best summaries I have seen of how ancient Stoics differed from the modern view of Stoicism.

It's worth remembering that the Stoics used logic to construct a rational view of the world, and tried to apply that view to everything. They held that happiness comes not from your external situation - how much money you have, how hard or easy your job is, where you live, your status in society, etc. - but rather from how many virtues you practice, and how many vices you avoid.

It is in *this* regard that Stoicism is remarkably useful for people like me with chronic anxiety, or depression, or other psychological conditions that change our behavior. As I noted above with the CBT remark, Stoicism helps us address negative behavioral changes with reminders and examples of *positive* behaviors and attitudes. It's a way of thinking that in itself combats the thinking that comes from depression and anxiety.

No one can think like that all the time, of course. But it can be put to good use when you need it, when you are in crisis, and might take some of the edge off of a spiral, by reminding you of the example of "good thinking" (my phrase) and good behaviors. It's a sort of ancient CBT, but in a book you can carry around.

In that sense it has a lot in common with Buddhism's Noble Eight-Fold Path - Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. All of these concepts can be practical assistance, not to cure, but to take the edge off of the bad times, if you can master them through occasional meditation or even just reading up on and reflecting on the principles.

These are tools in my toolbox. They are suitable for people who live mostly inside their own heads, as opposed to extroverts who may need more interaction with others to pull themselves back up.

I thought I'd give this thread an update 'cause we rarely have positive updates on this subject, don't we?

I think I'm not depressed anymore. I've worked on some of my issues, accepted the things I can't change, found a purpose and long-lost self confidence. I started working on myself, started shedding weight, etc.

It's been over 6 months now where I can say I feel ... great? it's like I'm becoming myself again

I wish I could give you a formula or some tip to how I did it. What did I do... I started intermittent fasting? it helped a lot with a lot of my personal issues. Someone somewhere said that being able to do this every day, keeping focus, etc. gives you a lot of pride because every day is some sort of accomplishment. Maybe that's something I needed in my life, I dunno. I think it helped a lot, lost a lot of weight too, didn't even need to exercise.

Anyhoo. That's my happy story. Let's hope it's not just temporary, but the fact that nothing new came into my life (no new job, no windfall or new love interest) gives me hope that it's not just a fluke and that I may be done with depression for good.