Feeling depressed

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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Becca87 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:42 am

Thanks for those links Tori. There was one in particular which particularly resonated with me; it's a forum post from someone who describes exactly how I feel. I don't fear the act of dying. I fear the utter nothingness which will follow death. I did a lot of research and had a long, deep conversation with my boyfriend last night. He agrees that I'm probably not depressed. Yes I identify with some of the symptoms, including these:

- continuous low mood or sadness
- feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- tearfulness
- lack of motivation and little interest in things
- lack of enjoyment
- feeling anxious or worried
- change in appetite

However, I'm outwardly happy and smiley. I'm content with the way my life is going. I've had no thoughts of suicide. In fact, fear of death is the very thing which is crippling me.

During my research last night I came across the term 'thanatophobia', which is a phobia of death and being dead. I came across the following blog post which could pretty much have been written by me:

http://www.thepickards.co.uk/index.php/ ... atophobia/

If you want to understand exactly how I'm feeling, please read the post (I apologise for how long it is). I've commented on the post (my comment is the most recent so it's at the bottom of the page), and that should also give you an insight into how I currently feel. As I said, the original blog post contains words which could have come directly out of my own mouth. The main difference between myself and the writer is that he says he spends about 40 minutes a day thinking about death, but I currently think about it during all my waking hours. A lot of the comments on the blog really resonate with me too. In a way it's a comfort to know that other people feel the same, but it doesn't take away my phobia.

As I wrote in my comment on the blog, my only hope for relief is that I may be able to find some kind of faith to believe in. However, because I want so desperately to believe in a higher being and an afterlife, I'm actually more sceptical about the possibility than I might ordinarily be. Every time I think about death and the possibility of an afterlife, the logical part of my brain swoops in and explains it away.

Because of all this, I'm not sure what a counsellor could do for me. I think my only hopes are to find a faith/religion, or simply accept the inevitability of death.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby RagDoll » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:11 am

I have just had a look at the link and your comment at the bottom.

I don't see why you're being so quick to discount councelling - I have never been (though I have contemplated it), but what have you got to lose??? It seems quite logical to me that the right councellor could help you. After all, you have a phobia - a fear of death which is way worse than the average persons.. it isn't 'normal' to be so scared of death (didn't want to use the word normal as loads of people have phobias, but I couldn't think how else to express myself). A councellor would be able to help you change the way you see the world, and particularly death. I don't mean to be funny, but I think that's a much more positive step forward than trying to convince yourself that there's an after-life
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby snail » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:12 am

A phobia doesn't simply exist in a vacuum, for no reason. It is a way of expressing or dealing with something deeper. The underlying causes of this are psychological, and you do have text book symptoms of anxiety and depression. You may well find some temporary consolation in religious faith, but please bear in mind what I've said for the future.

Even if you don't believe counselling can do anything for you, what have you lost by trying it, other than a small amount of time? At the very least you'll have a friendly chat once a week with someone about your feelings, which can't be bad. Likewise, a trip to the docs can't hurt and it might be useful to hear what s/he says.

EDIT: sorry, Ragdoll, cross-posted with you there.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby ToriL87 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:03 am

Hi Becca
After reading that i've learnt a few things about you, we're the same age, so i think identify with your skceptism about a couscellor and the whole faith issue, i suggest though that you don't try to just find something to believe in at the moment as you'll probably be looking for a reason to disbelieve it (if that makes sense)
I think a counsellor of some form might still be worth a try, even if only to get talking to someone about how you feel (if you don't like it-no harm done) maybe their are support groups out there which you could be put in touch with. Why not look online for experiences of people who have been to counselling? It's much more than just talking and listening, theres also cognitive behaviour therapy and pschothearpy (which from my understanding help you to manage and ultimately overcome phobias and emotional problems) so why not give them a google and see what you find

http://www.thesite.org/healthandwellbei ... treatments (sorry to be always posting links-but i know very little about what your going through)

Also i don't know if you dismissed the hypno-therapy, but it looks quite appealing to me, the type which deals with phobias and depressions is called analytical thearpy.
http://www.openpalm-hypnotherapy.com/th ... _dying.htm

I noticed that you'd got replies on that blog, so hopefully you'll maybe get some answers from the guy who wrote the blog, as the best people to talk to are the people who have or are experiencing the same things.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Becca87 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:27 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I am considering counselling, but I still feel sceptical about how a counsellor could help me. I've just started reading a book called 'Stop Thinking, Start Living' by Richard Carlson. In it, the author claims that traditional therapies are often wrong in asking people to 'face their fears' and confront their negative feelings. He believes that this simply makes people feel worse. He believes that feelings of happiness are within our control - we just need to accept that our own thoughts affect our feelings, and we can learn to control our thoughts. I'm inclined to agree with him about the tendency of traditional counselling to focus on the negatives - surely this can't be a good thing?

Unfortunately, I'm also sceptical of the positive thinking which is advocated in the book. The author talks about how you can be happy regardless of your circumstances and that nothing is worth worrying about. Trust me to have a phobia which can't be dismissed so easily! The things other people are scared of, e.g. spiders, the dark etc., can be ignored, but death is something which can never be avoided. This is the thought I keep returning to - that no matter what I do in my life, one day it will end. No questions. On one day, in one second, it'll all be over forever.

I'm also thinking about hypnotherapy. Hopefully a hypnotherapist could encourage me to replace my negative thoughts with positive ones.

I'm still not sure what to do to be honest.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby ToriL87 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:59 pm

Becca87 wrote:The things other people are scared of, e.g. spiders, the dark etc., can be ignored, but death is something which can never be avoided. This is the thought I keep returning to - that no matter what I do in my life, one day it will end. No questions. On one day, in one second, it'll all be over forever.


I noticed you said death can't be avoided-true, but it can be ignored. Someone whos afraid of spiders, still will have to see spiders, they just avoid them, simuarly with the dark (it'll still get dark every night-but they just avoid being in the dark)
I know it's hard to just ignore death because your so afraid of it and maybe understandably so, deep down everyone is probably afraid of it- just most of us put those thoughts away somewhere. But it's unforunately the only think that you can do, realistically you have no choice but to accept death and just try to live your life. I do think the hypnothearapy might be a good way to achieve this.

You don't need to be all cheery and positive all the time (that would be un-natural) but you need to be able to find a balance. The title of your book reminded me of a quotation, i think it comes from the film the shawshank redemption, 'get busy living or get busy dying'
I thought this was quite appropriate, maybe it could be like a mantra for you for when you start to think about death, just to remind you that you have a whole lot of living to do first.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Bel Bel » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:24 pm

Ok we all know death will come at some point
This is going to sound too simple but try thinking "it will come and so I can enjoy the journey until I get there or I can waste what life I do have being scared of something I can never change anyway"
Life is for living so live it to the fullest

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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Becca87 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:38 am

Bel Bel, that's good advice and it's not the first time someone's said that to me in the past few weeks. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be as simple as that. I appreciate your reply though :)

I just wanted to update everyone on the situation. I went to see a doctor on Monday and burst into tears as soon as I sat down in his room. I told him everything I've been thinking and feeling. He said pretty much the same thing I've been told by my boyfriend, mum and others - if this is all there is, why not live life to the full and make the most of it? I totally understand that comment but at the moment it doesn't seem to be helping me. He said it's obvious I'm a deep thinker and he recommended that I read the works of different philosophers on this subject, although he then retracted that advice and said it might not help me to dwell on it. Anyway, he referred me for counselling. He wants me to ring and make an appointment with them next week, once his referral letter has reached them. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of this horrible time.

Thanks for all the responses :)
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Bel Bel » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:03 pm

Well that's a good outcome. Hopefully a professional will be able to help you get this sorted so you can really start enjoying life. Keep us updated.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby snail » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:11 pm

I'm really pleased to hear that :D

So much in your situation mirrored my own - I struggled on for years feeling, like you, quite sure that what I needed to do was solve my philosophical issues, and how could a counsellor possibly help me, etc etc, but as I triumphed over one fear, another gradually arose . . . I ended up seeing a counsellor at 34 out of sheer desperation as my life had ground to a total halt, having tried everything else first. It grieved me to think that you might have to tread the same path. But now I hope you'll soon feel better. Remember counselling isn't quick or easy - give it a minimum of six months or really a year before you decide if it's working.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby ToriL87 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:39 pm

Becca i'm so glad and proud of you for plucking up the courage to go to your GP, now hopefully this is the start of recovery.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Becca87 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:56 pm

Hi everyone :) Thank you for your kind words about me seeking professional help. I just wanted to give you a quick update.

The GP referred me for counselling, and I was phoned by a counsellor a couple of weeks later for an initial assessment. The phone call consisted of a series of questions based on my life over the previous two weeks. In those two weeks, I'd started my final teaching placement (I'm training to be a primary school teacher). I'm halfway through the placement now, and it's been a blessing. It's really helped to take my mind off things. For this reason, the initial assessment showed that I'm not depressed. If the counsellor had asked me the same questions a few weeks earlier, I think the results may have been different because I was constantly feeling low. However, even though I have fewer tearful and panicky moments now, the thought of death is still never far from my mind. I think about it as soon as I wake up, and then for most of the day before I go to bed again. It still upsets and frightens me as much as it did before, but my placement means that I can't let myself get upset as often. Anyway, the thoughts are still persistent so the counsellor recommended a course of guided self-help. She sent me a booklet about depression and anxiety for me to work through, and I had a face-to-face appointment with her this week. It was good to talk about my thoughts with someone, but talking about them also brought them again to the forefront of my mind, which isn't pleasant. The next booklet the counsellor is sending me is about challenging unhelpful thoughts, and I hope it'll be useful. I've got another appointment to talk to her about it next Thursday.

I hope everyone's well. Thanks again for all your advice and support.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby Bel Bel » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:13 pm

Glad your placement is going well and thanks for letting us know hoe you are getting on
Hopefully soon you will have conquered your fears :D
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby snail » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:08 pm

That's brilliant, I think it'll give you a firm basis to start getting better. It can quite often be uncomfortable to discuss things, but overall you usually feel better once you have. Remember it took you a while to get depressed in the first place, so it's not realistic that you'll snap out of it overnight.
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Re: Feeling depressed

Postby fiftyone » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:37 am

Hi Becca

The image you posted about lying in bed with your thought about death struck a chord with me . I had exactly the same experience some years ago, when on the surface I had everything to live for:- home, small children and no real worries. I would suddenly wake with a jolt just as I was going off to sleep with the horror that one day I wouldn't be here. It was as you say really disturbing and frightening. Following this I lost several members of my family, - my father and sister - and my children grew up and I got divorced. I felt like dying for a while and then I thought - heck - I'm going to be dead anyways one day and I might have 40 years left between now and then so.....am I really going to just give up now when I have the power to make something of my life. I have to say this was at a time when I felt very alone bringing up my children with little or no outside support. Against all my inner beliefs and confidence levels I started to venture out there and find things to help me. I studied philosophy, I played tennis and gradually - very gradually - I saw things that gave meaning to life. Its still hard sometimes - thats what life is . You have a great gift which many don't have and thats clear by your posts - you have a great gift of sensitivity and the ability to think. USE it for yourself and please don't be afraid of it. It can perhaps enhance your life and give you a greater understanding of the world that most people will never have.
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