Feeling depressed

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Feeling depressed

Postby Becca87 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:02 pm

Hi,
I'm not sure if I'm posting in the right place as my problem feels quite silly in comparison with most of the other things people probably experience every day. I haven't lost anyone close to me recently, I'm not unemployed or homeless, and I'm not even remotely considering the possibility of suicide. My problem is a comparatively irrational fear of death. I'm 22 and this is the second time I've felt like this in my life. At the age of 15 I went through a period of worrying constantly about death i.e. what happens after we die. All I could think about day in and day out was the possibility of never existing again, knowing absolute nothingness and never again seeing my loved ones. I'm not sure how I did it but I must have learned to deal with my fear because I haven't felt anything similar since then. Every now and then I've thought about death when it's been dark and I've been laying in bed with only my own thoughts for company, but I could usually turn on the TV and take my mind off it. However, the fear returned a few weeks ago and it's now occupying my entire life. I have university work to do but I don't see the point in doing anything because one day I won't even be here. Why do anything in life when it'll all end one day and nothing you did will be of any importance anymore? I passed two important tests this morning but I can't even be happy about it. I'm trying to watch mindless TV to take my mind off things but it's not helping. All I can think about is not being here anymore. I worry that, even though I'm only 22, my life already seems to have flown by. Before I know it I'll be 70 and staring death in the face, terrified about going to sleep in case I never wake up again.
See what I mean about being irrational? I know that death comes to everyone and no-one can really be sure about what comes afterwards. I know all the cliches about living life to the full and seizing every opportunity. But none of this provides me with any comfort. I was reading about depression on the Mind website earlier. I began crying when I realised that I identify almost entirely with their definition of the condition.
I'm not really sure what I expect anyone to say to me. I just felt the need to get all this off my chest. I have a very supportive boyfriend who I've spoken to about this but he seems to have wholly accepted the inevitability of death and he doesn't understand what I'm so scared of.
Thanks for reading all this!
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby RagDoll » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:15 pm

I feel a bit like you've described from time to time, just not to the same extreme. I know what you mean when you say in a sense, what's the point in doing university work, trying hard etc. but of course the answer is to better your life. Life is short and that is a bit scary, but that's all the more reason to work hard and make something of your life and basically be the best person you can. Enjoy life and your successes.

Also, one day you won't be here, but that doesn't mean your life won't have mattered - it will have mattered to so many people.. your family, your friends, your boyfriends, people in the past and no doubt people in the future. Surely you want those people to look back and say "yeh, Becca was a great person, she did really well at uni, she was a lovely person" etc. etc.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby ToriL87 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:28 pm

Hi Becca
Whilst it's natural to think about death and worry about it at some point, it does seem like your letting your fear of death take over, which in turn is stopping you from enjoying life.
I think to stop this from becoming a serious phobia and ruling your life, you should probably try to find the source of your fear and tackle it, i've found some websites which might help you
http://www.howtogetridofstuff.com/healt ... -of-death/

i think your taking the right steps in talking about this, as the worst thing to do is bottle it up and let it consume you, so next time you can't sleep because your worrying about it, why not talk to someone about it, if you don't want to talk to your boyfriend in the middle of the night, why not come online and chat with people in the same situation and those who have overcome their fear.
http://www.experienceproject.com/groups ... Death/2593

I think you need to stop looking ahead and fearing the future and stop looking back and thinking about how quickly time passes, because you'll waste the moment (if that makes sense) set yourself some goals for your life, a few days or even weeks at a time, and focus on living now. Your life really will be in vain if you just spend it worrying about things, you need to make the most of being young, so that when your older you can look back and say that you enjoyed life.

Nobody knows what happens after death, lots of people believe different things, why not do a little research online, many people believe that death isn't really the end after all.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Becca87 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:29 pm

Thank you for the replies so far. I understand everything you both said, and I really do want to come to terms with my fear. I'm worried that, if I don't, it'll just keep coming back throughout my life. However, I'm finding that it's a really hard thing to accept. I hate the thought of me and my family (mainly my parents) growing old. I hate the thought of not being with the family and friends who mean the entire world to me. I hate the thought of not being here and never being able to experience anything ever again. In fact it all overwhelms me and I just can't seem to shake off the fear. My boyfriend tells me that I won't know anything about it when I'm dead, but that's what scares me so much! I want there to be something after death, but the logical part of my brain just can't accept it. Things like heaven and the afterlife just don't seem plausible to me, no matter how much I desperately want to believe in them. I think if I believed in something like that it would help me to come to terms with my fear and be happy and hopeful, but I just can't see them being possible. All the scientific evidence points to death being the end. We didn't know anything before we were born, so why would we know anything when we're gone?
I'm sorry to be so morbid but this is my life lately. I have tears in my eyes just writing the words, I'm so terrified of what happens after death. I emailed the Samaritans today but no-one's replied yet, and I'm seriously considering seeing a counsellor or someone who can help me, but I'm too embarrassed to go to the doctor and explain my problem.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby ToriL87 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:50 pm

Becca You've got me quite interested in this now, although i don't fear death i don't have any particular beliefs about what happens either (it's something i've never thought about) but it seems that fear of death is everywhere, so hopefully you can find help.
i think it's a good idea to make get some form of professional counscelling, as they will have dealth with this many times, and be able to talk you through methods for overcoming your fears/problems.

Whilst i think talking through your problems would probably be the best form of counselling, there are also books available which might help you
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss?url ... r+of+death

if you find going to your GP too difficult, why not bring someone along for support, your boyfriend for example.

Also since you mentioned that you'd like to believe in some form of afterlife there is a lot of literature out there about what happens to us when we die, which are quite comforting.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_6_1 ... t+happens+
You mentioned science, but science isn't always right, and many scientists are still religious/spiritual people.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby snail » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:16 pm

It does seem as though you are depressed. That's not just a incidental diagnosis, it's a very important thing to remember, because you're actually focusing on one of your symptoms - the fear of death - and treating it as though it were the cause. Do you see what I mean? You're not feeling depressed because you're afraid of death, you're afraid of death because you're depressed. When your mind gets into this sort of state, frightened and exhausted, it's hard to see things clearly and it's easy to think that the frightening thoughts are themselves the problem, and if you could just find a rational solution you would feel completely better. In your case, if you could feel assured of life after death you think you'd be cured. In fact you wouldn't, because the underlying problem - the depression - would still remain. You would just start to get very worried about something else; perhaps what immortality would be like, and if you could stand it. For this reason I don't think it would be helpful at all to study different ideas about life after death. You might feel better temporarily, but it won't solve the underlying problem. In fact, you could feel worse, as it's devastating when the original frightening thought has been 'solved' but then a new one comes up.

You can see for yourself that it's your state of mind that's the problem rather than death itself, if you look at the fact that other people like your boyfriend aren't worried by this even though it affects them as much as you. Even more clearly, you yourself used to be worried about this before, but got over it. So you know you can feel differently about this. The problem has come back now because you're low in some way.

I definitely think counselling is the way to go. This sort of fear usually indicates identity and boundary issues - I can say that because my fears were very, very similar. Counselling has helped me very much, and I can categorically say that death no longer bothers me in the same way (and I haven't developed a belief in an afterlife). Make an appointment with your GP tomorrow, explain clearly exactly how distressed you are - just say what you've said here - and ask for an urgent referral.

In the meantime, try and remember that this is just a thought. It's no more 'real' than any other thought, and certainly no more real than the way you felt when this issue didn't bother you. Don't waste energy trying to solve this problem, just accept that you're low at the moment and some scary things will be drifting through your mind. Let them drift, they can't hurt you.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Becca87 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:48 pm

Thanks for your advice Tori. I followed the links you provided and found a book which looks interesting and is, according to some reviewers, very reassuring. I'm not sure if I feel ready to read it right now as I still find the whole concept of death very overwhelming and I'm still in a state of preferring to bury my head in the sand (although that's been very difficult lately), but the book's definitely on my wishlist.

Snail, thank you for your response. You've provided me with some very interesting things to think about. At the moment, when thoughts of death are consuming me, I find it hard to believe that these thoughts are only a symptom of depression and not the cause of it. I can't think of anything in my life which could have caused me to feel so low, but at the same time I find it strange that my current state began very suddenly and nothing occurred which could have prompted my irrational thoughts.

I think I'm going to follow all the advice and go ahead with a trip to the doctor. Even talking about my thoughts has to help.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Becca87 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:43 pm

Today started out as a better day. I woke up with the same thoughts on my mind but feeling generally more positive, but now I'm beginning to feel very low again.

I mentioned in my last post that I intend to seek help via my GP, but I'm not even sure how to go about this. I've never seen anyone about mental issues before, and I've very rarely needed to see a doctor for any medical reasons so far in my life. Part of me still wants to avoid talking about my fears, especially to anyone professional, mainly because of embarrassment and not wanting to cause a fuss. Can anyone recommend the best way to go about this?
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby snail » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:15 pm

You could say what you've said here, or even print out this page and take it along with you, then just hand it to him/her?
But I really would emphasise how upset you are, that you are very distressed and need help, because the doctor may just think it's enough just to pat your hand and say soothing words. I actually signed up with a private counselling service, but they offer discounted rates depending on income. They did want to assess me first though, as limited funds mean they only take those in severe need, so in many ways it was the same as getting treatment on the NHS. I simply told the person assessing me how I felt, and in what ways my life was restricted - i.e. if you cry all the time, or you can't go out, or you are too afraid to go to sleep, those are the sort of things they need to hear.

I really do understand what you mean about believing your fear is the cause of your depression, rather than the other way round. The fearful thought can be so utterly overwhelming you inevitably become obsessed by it, and you feel if it could only be sorted you'd be fine. But the underlying problem (which may be something very deep, well beyond your conscious mind) would still be there, and if this fear could be vanquished, another fear would take its place, the next time you were low. I so wish I had realised that myself, because if I had I wouldn't have waited until I was 34 before getting counselling.

The fact that this fear bothers you at times and then goes away again shows you clearly that it's your state of mind and not the issue of death (which never changes) that is the problem. Therefore by working on your state of mind you can find peace about this.

I would phone the surgery now, and just make an appointment. You'll probably feel better once you know you've made a start.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby ToriL87 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:34 pm

You don't need to worry about seeing your GP, you have to remember that they see things like this everyday and won't judge you, depression isn't the taboo subject it used to be many years ago, and even medical professionals themselves suffer from forms of depression from time to time.

You can bring someone along for moral support if you think that would help, they can wait in the waiting room if you don't actually want them in with you.

I can understand that approaching the subject might seem difficult and agree with snails idea that bringing in something written down on paper (like this page printed out) could help. Why not write down everything you want to say/think your GP should know, like when this began,how it affects you (not being able to sleep etc.) Your GP will then probably talk to you and ask you questions aout your general health etc.

Don't be afraid to also ask him/her questions about what will happen, e.g will you be referred for counselling or to a psychiatrist, could there be an underlying medical issue, will you be perscribed anything etc.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Becca87 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:49 pm

What you're both saying makes complete sense, and I know I need to seek help for this. But I think I'm wary about seeing a doctor because I'm very sceptical about what they could do for me. I don't want someone to just listen to me and I don't want drugs. I want someone to take away the possibility of me or anyone I love ever dying. That's the only way I could possibly feel better. But obviously, that's not likely to happen. So what could anyone possibly do or say to help me get over this? I just don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby snail » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:12 pm

Becca, you are depressed, this has NOTHING to do with dying. You can and will feel better when your depression gets better. You may or may not be prescribed medication (most likely not) and counselling is a lot more than someone just listening to you, it is you sorting your own fears and problems out. You need to keep an open mind.

Now please make an appointment to see the doctor.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby ToriL87 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:34 pm

Becca i honestly think that your are going to have to accept death, it is inevitable, and your right no body can tell you that you or anyone you know is going to live forever.
Were you depressed before you began to worry about death so much? because i think it's this irrational fear thats causing the problems to be honest, because you said that you feel like whats the point with anything since your going to die eventually, obviously you enjoy life since you don't want it to end so much?
So i think seeking counselling to get over/learn to live with this fear is essential.

i've found a forum online,which literally has hundreds of people who feel the same as you, so your not alone. Likewise there are many people out there who are suffering from depression, so you need to stop feeling like there is no solution
Becca87 wrote: I want someone to take away the possibility of me or anyone I love ever dying. That's the only way I could possibly feel better. But obviously, that's not likely to happen. So what could anyone possibly do or say to help me get over this? I just don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.


You need to face up to the reality of this, and the reality is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that there are people who can help you, not by providing a miracle cure, and not just by listening to you. These people are trained professionals and will use a range of thearapies and techniques to help you.
You don't have to go on medication, but if you have trouble sleeping your doctor could perscribe tablets to help with that.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Becca87 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:10 pm

snail wrote:Becca, you are depressed, this has NOTHING to do with dying. You can and will feel better when your depression gets better.

Now please make an appointment to see the doctor.


I'm trying to believe what you're saying, but at this point in time I find it difficult to accept that I can feel any better than I do now. Maybe I am depressed, but I still feel as if my fear of death is the cause of my depression and not a symptom. I can't think of anything else and I can't see a way around this other than accepting death or believing that something will happen after I die. I need some kind of hope to cling to.

Nevertheless, I will try to make an appointment. My boyfriend has offered to come with me. He's even said that he'll take time off work if he needs to. I'm not sure if I can bring myself to make the appointment though. I feel so silly about the way I feel.

ToriL87 wrote:Were you depressed before you began to worry about death so much? because i think it's this irrational fear thats causing the problems to be honest, because you said that you feel like whats the point with anything since your going to die eventually, obviously you enjoy life since you don't want it to end so much?


No I wasn't depressed at all. I've got a wonderful boyfriend and family. I don't have as many friends as I'd like, but the friends I do have are very good ones who I know would be there for me if I needed them. I'm in my final year at university and I'm on track to achieve a good degree. I can't think of anything which could have brought these feelings on. They started very suddenly about a month ago and now I can't think of anything else.

ToriL87 wrote:i've found a forum online,which literally has hundreds of people who feel the same as you, so your not alone. Likewise there are many people out there who are suffering from depression, so you need to stop feeling like there is no solution


Do you have the web address of the forum you've found? It might help me to speak to people who feel the same...

ToriL87 wrote:You don't have to go on medication, but if you have trouble sleeping your doctor could perscribe tablets to help with that.


I'm not having any trouble sleeping. I find it difficult to take my mind off things when I'm in bed and I have to go to sleep with the TV on so I'm not alone with my thoughts, but I usually fall asleep easily and have a good night's sleep most nights. It's just my waking hours that are totally occupied with these thoughts.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby ToriL87 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:33 pm

I'll put the links at the bottom, there are several different forums/chat rooms, some focusing on people who are only afraid of death, and another more general one for people with extreme phobias, and one for depression.
I wasn't sure at first whether reading how other people were afriad of death would help, but there are also a lot of peoples replies about overcoming this and their depression, and like on here a lot of people willing to help.

http://www.depressionforums.org/forums/ ... 17057.html

http://www.depressionforums.org/forums/ ... 28572.html

http://www.experienceproject.com/groups ... bia/165278

http://www.phobics-awareness.org/forum/

http://www.bluepeople.com/forum.php?s=3 ... e33e5c90c2

sorry theres so many. Whilst i was doing my searching there was also an article about hypnotheapy for thanatophobia (which is the fear of death which leads to depression) i'm not sure if thats something you would consider?

Also just by googling 'thanatophobia' a lot of information comes up, and how it links to depression, symptoms and how to get help, so it's worth a read at some of the info out there.
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