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All About Unhappiness

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What has worked for you to beat unhappiness or Depression? (Or other mental illnesses)

Sometimes I feel so lonely, but I get discouraged to meet new people because I'm so difficult, different, and paranoid that people hate me. My cat helps and so do certain movies or getting my errands done. I find making sure I eat enough and eating healthy helps. Vitamin D improves my energy.

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Betweenyouandme, I think I relate to where you're coming from.  I've recently emerged from a pretty dark period in my life (dealing with work) that, at its worst, made me seriously question what I want to do with my life and, at times, made it very difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel at all.  Some things that helped me cope (besides ultimately leaving the toxic environment):

 

- having daily rituals of positive, self-confidence-building behaviors - for instance, exercising most days, taking long walks in my neighborhood (weather-permitting) while focusing on appreciating the scenery and imagining the kind of life I want for myself in the future, writing down 10 goals I want to accomplish in the next 12 months each day (it sounds corny, but I've been doing this for over a year, and it's actually been really helpful in clarifying what I want out of life).

 

- listening to motivational/positive audio books at home (again, I know this sounds corny, and most of them are repetitive, but it helps me get motivated and develop positive self-talk rather than getting caught up in spirals of negative emotion).  A lot of these can be found on Youtube.

 

-  having a CD of happy music playing in my car

 

- reading blogs that focus on positivity and self-improvement:  tinybuddha.com, marcandangel.com, and some blogs written by people in my field that focus on how they cope with and overcome challenges

 

- constructively talking over my feelings and problems with someone else.  In my case, my closest family members have never been good at giving emotional support (they just offer solutions, then 5 minutes later are sick of talking about things and have checked out of the conversation), so I eventually (upon the urging of some mentors) sought counseling for about a year.  It took me several tries to find a counselor I clicked with, but eventually I found one who I did click with and who I felt safe opening up to.

 

- and, like you, playing with my cat....he's very good-natured and will usually let me cuddle with him.

 

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The blogs are a great idea. I'll check them out. Thanks.

I just feel so hopeless. I'm alone so much because I don't trust myself or other people. I can't get anything right. The things I want to do and be, I can't. I can't get it right. I can't make friends and keep them. It becomes obvious so quickly how crazy I am. I've messed up so much. I hate myself. I try so hard, but I can never get things right. I don't even know why I post here. My thoughts and feelings are always so different from everybody. It just highlights how weird I am and unwanted by anybody. I don't know what's wrong with me. People always hate me, and I don't know why. All I have to do is wake up, eat, sleep, take care of my cat, and not get into trouble. That's it. That's it, and I'm still almost a complete failure. My own father won't even spend time with me because I make him lose his temper.

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The blogs are a great idea. I'll check them out. Thanks.

I just feel so hopeless. I'm alone so much because I don't trust myself or other people. I can't get anything right. The things I want to do and be, I can't. I can't get it right. I can't make friends and keep them. It becomes obvious so quickly how crazy I am. I've messed up so much. I hate myself. I try so hard, but I can never get things right. I don't even know why I post here. My thoughts and feelings are always so different from everybody. It just highlights how weird I am and unwanted by anybody. I don't know what's wrong with me. People always hate me, and I don't know why. All I have to do is wake up, eat, sleep, take care of my cat, and not get into trouble. That's it. That's it, and I'm still almost a complete failure. My own father won't even spend time with me because I make him lose his temper.

 

I definitely feel where you're coming from.  I've been in places in my life too where I've thought that everyone is against me (or that no one cares), and that I'm trying my hardest but I'm still failing/not having the success that others are.  Sometimes I catastrophize things or make mountains of out molehills over things that don't really matter in the end.  What eventually snaps me out of periods of negative thinking is a sense of perspective - that others' lives aren't perfect (even if their Facebook page seems to indicate so!), and everyone struggles with different things.  

 

But ultimately I've come to believe that being happy (or not being unhappy) isn't about attaining some ideal situation in your life, but it's about a conscious choice of mindset that you can make no matter the circumstances.  One of the goals/mantras I write for myself everyday is "I consciously choose to be happy."  And then I try to reframe the negative circumstances I find myself in in a more positive light - for instance, if I'm stuck in a long line at the grocery store, I think about being happy that I can afford to buy groceries and have so many options to pick from.  If I'm stuck in traffic or hit all the red lights coming home, I think about having extra time to enjoy the scenery around me.  (If you haven't read David Foster Wallace's "This is Water" speech, there's this cool video narration of it online:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKYJVV7HuZw

 

I watch it from time to time.)

 

I don't know if you've heard about Brene Brown, but she's given some fantastic TED talks about vulnerability and self-doubt:   http://brenebrown.com/videos/

 

Also, I'm pasting some links to some of my favorite blog entries on developing habits of happiness/conquering unhappiness.  There are no quick-fixes here - just food for thought.

 

My favorite Tiny Buddha post - http://tinybuddha.com/blog/be-happier-with-what-is-by-letting-go-of-how-things-should-be 

(Vanessa Anstee, the author of this post, has a blog/mailing list that's also great)

 

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/make-peace-with-your-past-find-the-good-embrace-the-lessons

 

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/things-will-never-be-perfect-making-peace-with-everyday-challenges

 

http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/02/23/15-powerful-beliefs-that-will-free-you-from-negativity/

 

http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/06/11/20-hard-things-you-need-to-do-to-be-happy/

 

http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/06/22/12-common-lies-mentally-strong-people-dont-believe/

 

http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/08/17/25-things-to-remember-when-life-gets-rough/ - probably my favorite Marc and Angel post of 2014

 

http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/11/12/the-10-most-important-questions-you-can-ask-yourself-today/

 

http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/11/30/30-things-to-let-go-of-before-the-new-year/

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The blogs are a great idea. I'll check them out. Thanks.

I just feel so hopeless. I'm alone so much because I don't trust myself or other people. I can't get anything right. The things I want to do and be, I can't. I can't get it right. I can't make friends and keep them. It becomes obvious so quickly how crazy I am. I've messed up so much. I hate myself. I try so hard, but I can never get things right. I don't even know why I post here. My thoughts and feelings are always so different from everybody. It just highlights how weird I am and unwanted by anybody. I don't know what's wrong with me. People always hate me, and I don't know why. All I have to do is wake up, eat, sleep, take care of my cat, and not get into trouble. That's it. That's it, and I'm still almost a complete failure. My own father won't even spend time with me because I make him lose his temper.

 

I'm so sorry that you're going through this right now, our family has a strong history of anxiety/depression, so I know where you're coming from.  First off, please stop being so hard on yourself!  I know you've got some good points, focus on those, on what you do well and like, negative self-talk just drags you down and leaves you depressed.

 

Just because you see things differently than other people doesn't make you weird at all, different points of view are great.  I've seen your posts before and never thought what a weirdo!  Besides, we're all weird, I have habits that I've made my kids swear never to let anyone know, nothing terrible of course, just.... weird.  :)

 

Do you have any hobbies?  I'm not sure if you're male or female, but knitting is a great one to pick up, and there are lots of knitters male and female.  This article is great, it explains the therapeutic benefits, such as relieving stress and improving mood.  

 

Exercise is really great too.  I used to hate it, and when you're feeling tired and lousy already it seems like an impossibility, but it really and truly does work wonders.  Depending on your fitness level, maybe start a fitwalk or learning to run program.  And you can always join a group that runs/walks several times a week. A great way to meet people and get out of the house.

 

Most importantly though, if you don't mind my asking, are you seeing a therapist?  This isn't something you should be going through alone.  Talk therapy with a professional and if need be, appropriate medications can really help turn things around.  

 

Hope some of that helps.  I wish you well, and hope you know that you're not alone.  Things always get better.  :)

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What a great post, briochetwist, with really good advice.  This, in particular is very important, I think: 

 

negative self-talk just drags you down and leaves you depressed.

 

Whereas everyone has self-doubts, and negative feelings about their self-worth, it's really helpful to talk to yourself positively, for starters.  If you start out saying you can't do something, chances are you won't try.  If you can't believe "I can do this, I've totally got this"  then start out with "I can try something new.  I can change one thing about today.  I can do that."  

Try naming five things you like in your life right now.  Not the big "Oh I have my health" stuff because those are sort of givens if you are sitting around naming positive stuff.  I mean the smaller stuff, "Wow, my shampoo smells GREAT! I get to smell this every time I get in the shower.  What a nice perk in life."   If you don't like the smell of your shampoo, find something you do like and just build from there.  

 

It's important because mood management is a BIG part of overcoming sadness and unhappiness.  Studies show that just the act of smiling -- whether or not you're happy -- can help improve your mood.  

 

I am a HUGE advocate for exercise as a means of defeating depression.  I had post-partum depression following the birth of my son, it was a crushing sadness and incredibly difficult...it was also 24 years ago and exercise is one of the things that helped me defeat that for the rest of my life, but initially I did take an anti-depressant for about a year.  So there's that too, there is no shame in needing medication either to maintain or to initially overcome anything. 

 

We'd never judge someone for needing to take a medication to lower cholesterol to save their life or improve it.  There should not be any judgement assigned to needing a medication to help the most complicated part of our bodies: your brain. 

 

So consider that too and know that you don't have to feel this awful and there are ways to find help with that.  

 

Now I never had to take anti-depressants again after that, but it is because I do exercise A LOT.  If you think you don't like exercising, just do it anyway...and see how you feel afterward.  I'm not talking Crossfit if that's not for you...I mean taking a brisk walk for a half an hour.  If it's too cold where you are, go to the mall and walk around there.  If you don't want to be around people?  Go early, most malls actually open their doors early (8 am where I am).  You can wear an ipod and headphones if you don't feel like trying to talk to anyone. 

 

But you have to take the first steps to help yourself and trust that you actually are worth it.  

 

Try something new and different if you want a different result.  Maybe the first step is to consciously stop telling yourself what you can't do and figuring out what you can.  

By the way, you want friends? Volunteer at an animal shelter if you like animals.  It will give you exposure to things you do like (you say you like your cat) and will put you in the path of like-minded people.  I know a LOT of people in animal rescue at this stage and whereas some are super outgoing, many have an affinity with animals because they've always felt less comfortable around other people.  

 

I think if you did do that, you would find that you aren't odd, or peculiar, or weird.  Most people feel inadequate or frightened, or strange in a lot of situations.  

 

I'm an introvert who has perfected an imitation of extrovert to the extent that I've essentially converted my approach to the world to that of an extrovert.   So that's what I've told people for a long time, "I'm an introvert who can fake being an extrovert really well...." and almost to the last person here's what people tell me in return "Oh wow! That's me too!"  

 

Almost everyone is afraid they are doing it wrong, so you already have a lot more in common with others than you think. 

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A coworker told me about a gift her daughter had gotten which she enjoyed quite a bit: a Happiness Jar. It was started by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love). Here's a link about it:    http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/lets-talk-about-those-happiness-jars-shall-we-dear-lovelies-about-a-y/.  Basically, you get a jar, and each day at the end of the day take a scrap of paper and write down the date and something that made you happy that day.  It could be something as simple as, today was a sunny day after 5 days of rain, or you just found an earring you lost. 

 

I liked this part of her blog:

It takes about 35 seconds to do, but what it brings me is enormous — not only the pleasure of finding a good moment in each day (for even the horrible days have one least-bad moment) but the lasting benefits of recording that moment forever.

As years go by, whenever I'm having a rough time, I dig through the jar and pull out random slips of paper, and delight in them — all those momentary gems of life that I would have immediately forgotten, had I not jotted them down. They bring infinite comfort.

I am continually amazed at how simple my happiest moment of the day usually is. It is hardly ever a moment of explosive achievement or delirious excess.

 

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Most importantly though, if you don't mind my asking, are you seeing a therapist?  This isn't something you should be going through alone.  Talk therapy with a professional and if need be, appropriate medications can really help turn things around. 

The emphasis is mine. And guess I would toss in that a professional can be a huge difference maker with or without medicine. Even if a person doesn't want to consider medicine, in no way should that prevent him or her from still talking to a therapist regularly.  As much as loved ones want to help, even the best ones can't come close to what a therapist can offer. 

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I started doing something similar to the happiness jar. I have a journal that a write in each night before I go to bed. I list at least one thing I'm grateful for that day. I try to list five things but my "have-to" is one thing. Some days to make it to five I include things like I'm still alive, but I try to be more specific. Last night I was grateful for clean sheets (I changed them yesterday). I'm hoping that become mindful of the small things will have an impact on my overall mental attitude.

I've struggled with depression in varying degrees multiple times. Some were lighter periods & I've had a couple of dark & bleak sessions. I've used therapy & tried antidepressants. My opinion is that anything that helps you has validity. Self care is an important learned necessity. It's okay to take time to take care of yourself, in fact it's a vital necessity.

In my worst period, one thing that helped me was to put myself in situations around people, not necessarily heavy interaction, just proximity. When I was at my worst & getting out of bed was a challenge I would make a deal with myself about x number of days without trying to interact & then on day y I had to do something. Initially it was as simple as going to McDonald's & forcing myself to chat with the person at the drive-thru for a few moments, but eventually I found sitting at the library was a good choice. I could interact slightly with someone or choose not to, but there were people around me & I was pushing myself slowly out of my safe spot. I walked around Target or Walmart often needing nothing, but pushing a cart. At the time that was safe interaction for me. As a natural extrovert the fact that I had such a struggle with people was an odd experience, but depression is a bag full of messy that spills open in your brain & introduces you to new sides of yourself.

Hugs to you Betweenyouandme & to all of us that have experienced or are currently experiencing this. I will echo that exercise is a mood altering power house. It's a legal drug in its own way. Personally I still struggle with making myself go at times but I'm always glad I did. And good for you that you're trying to use nutrition to help address things as well. I know when I eat better & stay on my supplements it makes a big difference. I love the feeling of health & energy my supplements give me even if sometimes get frustrated with taking as many pills as I do.

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Betweenyouandme - Not sure what you are dealing with nor what the root of the problem is, but I would start with getting a good medical checkup, including bloodwork, because sometimes the body chemistry is out of whack and it can impact us in the most unexpected ways.  Seeing a therapist is also a great suggestion, but please do not get discouraged if you need to meet with a few before you find the one that is a good fit for you. 

 

I've been through some pretty dark periods and one of the most helpful sources for support I have found was an online forum/message boards that covered everything from tv shows to domestic abuse.  The anonymity helped me disclose things that I would have had a hard time vocalizing and it eventually helped me vocalize it to a therapist.  And writing things out in a post helped me organize and isolate things that were bothering me.  IRL, they just would snowball on me until it was just a huge overwhelming mess that seemed insurmountable.  But when written out, and with feedback from other posters, I often started to view things from a different perspective and, individually, began to construct a plan of attack for that particular concern.  And often, just reading someone else had dealt with similar feelings helped me not feel so alone.

 

I also am a chronic list maker and that helps me.  The positive ones, like the Things that make me Inexplicably Happy or the Things that make me Explicably Happy make me focus on the good stuff and I seriously get excited when I think of something new to add to the list.  And when I need a lift, I tap into those lists - whether it is reading Calvin and Hobbes or listening to music that makes me feel good.  The not so positive ones, like the Things or People I Hate, give me perspective - I actively limit the number of people I hate because once I realized how much time and energy I was focusing on negative things, I resented it.  I figured out I was spending so much more time focused on negative things, that the positives in my life were short changed.  And I eventually figured out most of the people who were bugging me and absorbing my time - they really were not worth the effort of investing my time or emotion in.  They were unavoidable sometimes, but so is stepping in gum: No matter how careful you are, it eventually happens.

 

Doing some volunteer work is a great suggestion.  Or going to learn something new - I decided just this morning to find an American Sign Language class and go to it.  I'll probably start with some online sites, but I hope to find one local.

 

Just know that you aren't alone, but not everyone has the courage and/or the ability to articulate what the problem is.  You've done both.  Take another step - any of the ones suggested here or something that you think is advocating for yourself.  I look at my life by asking myself if I am moving in the right direction - towards a more positive existence.  Sometimes it is one step forward and two back, sometimes I need to course correct.  But when I look back to where I started when things were really bad, I am surprised by how much ground I have covered.  Most of it was in baby steps, and sometimes crawling.

 

All the best to you and please give an update as to how you are doing.

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I hope you find and like the ASL class. I've started to try to learn French just by myself. If I keep up with it, I might like a class. Though it might be online. My problem is unfortunately very wrapped up in abuse from one of my teachers/counselers that I got blamed for. It makes both school and the thought of counseling very hard. I am trying to find a psychiatrist on my health insurance plan.

I had my blood work tested a lot last year when I was inpatient for a few months. I don't get enough vitamins, but I do take supplements. I have gout, shingles, and often am on antibiotics. I think that's also related to stress and not being able to sleep.

I really like lists, too. When I left inpatient, I was supposed to keep an hourly journal, tracking my feelings, why, and what I was doing. I didn't keep up with it. But, I sometimes still start making random lists when my anxiety gets bad, like favorite movies, foods, etc.

I'm trying very hard to keep up with friends, but I have trouble keeping good friends and I often meet people who are into things I need to stay away from. I don't work or go to school, and I often feel very guilty. But, then I'll have a bad day and realize I need more time. This fall I tried to take community college classes, but I dropped them due to anxiety. I didn't want to start dissociating or passing out again. I had an extreme fear that I was going to get into trouble again. I don't understand a lot of what happened to me or why, but I had a solid two years of nothing but reading and hearing the absolute worst things about myself. People can be so utterly vicious it makes me sick. I know there are very nice people, too, but I get scared they'll hate me. I mean, I had the police 2-3 years ago calling my friends or acquaintances asking them if they noticed something "strange" or "weird" about me. It's basically like a fact that I'm this complete waste of space. And, I don't know why. I don't understand why everyone hates me so much. I'm very nice and fair and ask questions.

I am very thankful for so many things and try to think about that a lot. I'm so lucky to not have money problems and the freedom to spend my time how I like it. I'm happy this year to not be inpatient or in any additional trouble.

I think I mostly need time away from the nightmare of what happened and to keep making time to travel and get out of the house to do something most days. I find vitamin D capsules really help with energy.

I have a lot of anger inside me and I ignore it until I dissociate and then I lose my temper or act impulsively. Its weird because I'm not someone who yells at someone or is rude. I just start ranting about the past to either by myself or to a very, very close friend. I am lucky to have that friend. He and my father are really the only ones who know my whole story and have been there.

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Hey Betweenyouandme don't give up on your search for a psychiatrist.  I don't mean that in a "hey it's obvious you need one" kind of way - I mean that because you feel it's what you need and you are trying.  It does all start with you, baby steps like others have said here, but pat yourself on the back for reaching out.

 

People won't usually come to you asking if you need help; you have to take that first step to find it.  Whether it's finding a professional, a friend, reaching out online, some other combination - it's you and you're doing it.  When you're having a bad day or time, remember that you're trying and maybe try again.  Failure is ONLY a certainty if you don't try.  Going outside helps (as you say) - there's something about getting away from the enclosed walls and breathing the air outside that brings you up.  Well, it does for me anyway.  Just feeling the sun or wind on my face, or seeing the sun on the water, even feeling a chill in the air, brings me up. 

 

 

I am very thankful for so many things and try to think about that a lot. I'm so lucky to not have money problems and the freedom to spend my time how I like it. I'm happy this year to not be inpatient or in any additional trouble.

The are great, positive statements.  As DeLurker says, please give updates.  Take your time and be kind to yourself.

Edited by raven
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Thank you raven. I am excited that the worst of the winter is mostly coming to a close where I live. It's easier to get outside then.

Today was a good day. I saw two friends, though one isn't someone I should be doing things with, I guess. Or, I have mixed feelings about the things we do and especially why I'm doing them. But tonight was really great. I saw a fun musical and had dinner. My anxiety was there, but nothing bad happened. I had nice conversations with my friend. I'm happy to know her even if there's a lot about me she doesn't know.

Like...that I'm on probation. I have 60 days left. I hope things continue to go well. I recently had to switch PO's and luckily my old PO gave me to her friend. Both have been incredibly kind and sensitive to me. Not at all what I was expecting. It means so much to me that they both think my situation is very difficult and confusing. They've showed great compassion and really left me alone except to help me. I'm actually nervous about getting off probation. While I get scared something will happen and I'll get my probation provoked, I'm also having separation problems already from my first PO. I've gotten to still talk to her a little, and I think we might see each other some once I'm off for good. I have felt such humiliation, embarrassment, confusion, and self-hate from the arrest and legal stuff, but probation has turned out to have some really good aspects. I feel like there's someone I can honestly talk to who's looking out for me. That's why I'm looking for a psychiatrist now, partly. I know I'll feel abandoned when I get off probation. That's very abnormal to feel, I guess, and I'll be happy to have it behind me and get it off my record...but it's still hard. A great thing about probation is that I'm a transfer from a small to large county. I don't have to deal with any of the people or places involved in my arrest. Also, to the transfer county, what I was arrested for seems like something they wouldn't have spent time on. It's just not prosecuted here. No one has the time. Bigger fish to fry, etc.

Since my dad won't hang out with me right now, it really adds to the loneliness factor. He's everything to me (well, minus my cat).

Things are so better than last year and the previous two years, so I can't forget that. I need to focus on the small things, like you say raven, and not always just have my mind be bombarded by memories. I've gone over and over the situation, and I think I need to accept that I'll never resolve it or have a clear, fair conceptualization. It was just too much.

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Betweenyouandme - clearly you are dealing with a pretty complicated situation.  I am incredibly impressed that you can appreciate the positive interactions with your PO.  My Dad used to be a Probation and Parole Officer for a few years - tough job since a lot of the people you deal with are pretty tough cases; but there were some that he genuinely connected with and sincerely hoped they got things turned around in their lives.  He did not talk a lot about that job at home, but the people he mentioned were ones that he felt truly wanted to improve their situation.  I suspect that your POs saw similar traits in you.

 

 

I've gone over and over the situation, and I think I need to accept that I'll never resolve it or have a clear, fair conceptualization. It was just too much.

Having been through an abusive relationship, I've spent a lot of time trying to make sense of a situation that does not (and will not) make sense and how to "fix" it.  With countless hours of thought, meditation, crying, etc...I eventually realized I would never be able to reconcile the mind behind all that pain nor fix that other person.  I had to accept the situation for what it was and decide what I was going to do about it.  Taking action was hard - probably the hardest thing I have ever done.  And what came next was messy, painful, expensive (financially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually...) and dragged out for years (almost 10).

 

I think just "accepting" what happened happened as a fact is a positive step.  There may be a need for deeper reflection on events, but maybe not until you are in a better place and less vulnerable.  It's difficult to compartmentalize big messy things because they keep spilling out of the box and off the shelf you put them on - it takes effort and investment of time in yourself - your current and future self.  Eventually, it gets easier to get that under control - you know it is there, but it does not need to be the defining event of your existence.  I can be pretty clinical these days when I think about something that happened - I've had to distance myself because for so long it was just a tidal wave and I was just crushed underneath it all.  It took a long time for me to get to this point, but once I made the decision about what I was going to do (and not just let it happen to me), I began to breathe easier.  That was HUGE for me.

 

And the timetable for all of this is not absolute.  The time it takes you is the time that it takes but you need to be conscious if your drowning in it.

 

For me, an important step was incorporating into my life after the trauma, the things I enjoyed before the trauma.  They existed before the abusive relationship and they got buried during it.  So finding joy in them again felt like a major victory - no matter how big or small.  Reading the Sunday funnies spread out on the floor, watching "so bad it is good" tv, walking my dog, wearing my favorite shirt that is so beat up and ugly when I need to/want to, ...

 

You've said your Dad is important to you, but things sound strained currently.  I am sorry to hear that.  Is it something some family counseling might help?  And remember, parents are just as human as we are.  Sometimes their coping skills are as flawed as everyone elses. As a parent, you want to try and buffer your child from every potential hurt and when one gets through, the guilt can be overwhelming - even if you have no control over it.  Seeing your child hurt and knowing you can't fix it with a band aid and an ice cream sucks and makes you feel inept.

 

Sometimes finding neutral ground gives both parties time to regroup and re-energize.  Talking about an interesting news article you read, watching a movie together, asking for help on a hobby that he knows about - gardening, fishing, cooking, ...I think if your Dad can "see" you making an effort at moving forward, it'll be positive for him too.

 

But there's no One Size Fits All method for moving through a difficult period in your life.  Being more methodical worked for me - consciously deciding on a path to take, giving it a reasonable amount of time to see progress, and re-evaluating if it was worthwhile.  Part of that was being on an anti-depressant for a while, part of that was seeing a therapist and part of that is me seeing progress in myself.  I've had to course correct several times because things weren't effective for me or were no longer effective.

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Yes, my arrest had nothing to do with drugs, assault, stealing, or anything like that and it's clear I'm not out living a life of crime. I mostly spend time be myself. I think my POs are wonderful people.

I wish my dad would do family counseling, but he would never. A huge reason I took the plea deal was because they wanted to drag out my dad's possible abuse of me. I couldn't let him have to go on public record with those things or risk any sort of arrest. He's a good man.

All this just makes me feel ashamed and disappointed. I don't know how to deal with the mental disorders I have or how to reconcile them with the events surrounding the arrest. It is very hard to not become completely overwhed or compartmentalize things, like you said. I am very prone to dissociating, which happened during the events of the arrest. I know how bad things can get if don't deal with how I'm feeling. I just need a lot more rest and downtime right now. And I agree that I don't know how long I'll be so affected.

I do realize I wasn't completely blameless in the situation. I let myself get extremely irrational. However, I didn't mean to break the law or hurt anyone or waste anyone's time. I was scared.

I want time away from all this. I want my dad back in my life. I want to stop feeling so upset, tired, and sick.

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Does anyone here know much about vitamins? I bought some more a couple of days ago, so I'm now taking:

Daily multi vitamin for women

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

B1, B6, B12

Choline with Insitol

Vitamin C Complex

I'd like to take Lysine but it really upset my stomach (to help prevent shingles)

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Not a big fan of taking pills - OTC or prescriptions.  I had to be on LOTS (prescription meds) for a couple of years and was so glad once I was able to cut back.  I'm still on necessary ones, like for my blood pressure, but I'm down to 2.

 

So take what I say with a grain (or silo) of salt...in general, I don't have much experience with viatmins and supplements.  Just the daily multivitamin.  My brother and his wife, who are insanely smart and research the hell out of everything, are big fans of supplements though.

 

I probably would probably start taking the multivitamin, but hold off on the others to see if the multi is giving you the desired results.  For the others, I would probably start them one at a time so you can monitor yourself for effectiveness and, more importantly, side effects.  It would be hard to isolate the cause of an adverse side effect if you are starting to take a lot of new things at once.  Also, be sure to research if there are any potential interactions with any other meds you are currently taking or food/drink concerns (you know...take with foods, take on an empty stomach, do not take with X juice or dairy, ...).

 

I'd consider going to source foods for the vitamins and increase your consumption accordingly.  That way you boost the specific vitamin intake without worrying about the quality of the supplement (I've recently read a couple of scary stories about how the concentration of the supplement can vary by huge amounts from pill to pill and also about some pretty rank manufacturing facilities since these are unregulated).  For example, from some quick googling, I found it was pretty easy to get the sameamount of lysine through your diet in an amount equal to the normal supplement level.

 

I'd probably see a nutrionalist to review my current diet and your goals to see what tweaks or additions you can make to boost your vitamin intake.

 

In any event, I think that looking at your physical health and wellbeing is a great place to start on re-balancing your overall wellbeing.

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I had a wonderful dream last night. I was shopping. And, I met this dark haired girl. She was pretty, nice, and just...comfortable. She really wanted to spend time with me, and she was like me. No big worries about day to day money and she just...wanted to have a fun time. But, she was so incredibly nice. Not too smiley. But, just...good. She wasn't jealous or spiteful. No put downs or need to feel better than I am. We went to go eat and to museums. It was so sunny and warm, and I trusted her ..not to steal from me or get angry over nothing or ever tell my secrets.

Where is a friend like this? One who has the time and here?

Sueno

Edited by Betweenyouandme

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A long time ago I read that many of the people in your dreams represent aspects of you but they get embodied in a different form by your head because they don't represent "you" in the totality.

 

Using that framework, I would say this is your psyche's way to enourage you to embrace more of those positive qualities that already reside in you. 

 

Extracting from years of my Dad's dream analysis (he was into it big time) eating with this pleasant girl represents feeding yourself with those positive qualities - literally nourishing your soul.  And going to a museum is generally thought of as a way of expanding or refining your appreciation of culture and the arts.  By proxy, being more receptive to a wider world and seeing it as an enrichment to your life.

 

So to answer your question "Where is a friend like this?", I would venture your subconscious is telling you that you need to recognize these qualities in yourself and when you do so, will find the world a much more positive place.

 

ETA:  This is just my stab in the dark at it so I am in no way saying this "is" what it means - just how I would view it if it were my dream.

Edited by DeLurker
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Hey, no, that's really interesting. Thank you. I really wish I could capture that confidence she had. She wasn't a huge talker or people person. She just confidently existed and walked around exploring the world how she wanted. It reminded me of how I try to be when I travel. I like walking cities, and she just owned it.

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Not a huge quote type person (unless they amuse me), but I've always liked this:

 

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn't try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn't need others' approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
― Lao Tzu

 

Although some people are born confident, most of us have to learn it.  I've gotten a lot more confident in myself as I've gotten older and I think a lot of that has to do with accepting both my own strengths, weaknesses and making mistakes.  As painful as some of those mistakes were, once I started analyzing what happened, what I did, alternative tactics I coulda/shoulda used (which eventually became woulda(s)) and accepting that not all situations have a happy ending or even fair ending, things felt a lot better. 

 

At work, I had to interact with a lot of upper and executive management and often tell them things they did not want to hear.  I've heard "I've been in this business longer than you've been alive" so so many times.  But, psychologically, holding a file folder or a clipboard helped fortify me for these encounters.  I had paper evidence to back me up (which I rarely had to whip out) but it made me feel more certain of my position and it made them take me more seriously.  And changing my communication style - focusing on what they did well and how they could further maximize those benefits with slight alterations to ensure those pesky regulatory compliance/internal audit/outside accountants were big carrots to get them to implement things I thought they needed and made them more receptive to me in the future.

 

We all have quirks and foibles, but we tend to over-inflate our own - that other people see and judge us poorly on them.  But seriously, how much time do you spend fixating on the guy in the Express Lane with more than 15 items?  Or the jerk driver who is constantly changing lanes to get ahead (and then ends up caught at the same red light as you)?  30 seconds?

 

Spending time and analyzing your own behaviour that negatively affects you and/or other people is a worthwhile and important endeavor.  Changing or modifying that behaviour is probably necessary for us to move forward - and sometimes that may take assistance to do.  But parsing through and separating behaviours to just "accept" as a personal idiosyncrasy versus those that are more significant and have the potential for real damage to yourself or others is probably in order.  Note:  I don't interpret the "accepting yourself" concept in the quote as meaning "as is" negative behaviour should just be embraced.  I view it as recognizing it and changing/modifying/managing it.

 

A lot has to do with your personal circumstance - for me, my friends dubbed me a "pragmatic optimist" and flat out told me that my sunny side of the street outlook and willingness to give the benefit of the doubt to someone would normally deem me intolerable (too naive), but I was saved by having a bone dry sense of humor, sarcasm, an appreciation for the absurd and by acknowleding the reality of a situation.  I would hope a bad situation would turn out ok, but did not ignore problems or probabilities of likely outcomes. 

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That is wonderful advice. I guess my cognitive dissonance comes in between having flat out lies told about me...then I internalize that..for people to hate me that much, there's got to be something. I create this constant paranoia that I look weird, I talk weird, I smell weird, I act weird. (Weirdly?) anyway...I want to change for the better. Besides taking a lot of effort on personal hygeine and being nice...I don't know what else is wrong, specifically. I'm quick to admit truthful flaws, but I'm stuck on a lot. I've been diagnosed with multiple issues. I have trouble recognizing a lot of my actions that are "off." I also do know and try my very, very best to change bad things.

Does that make sense?

Thank you so much for your time. You've given me so much to think about. I think sometimes I try too hard to overcompensate for bad things I do. Only the overcompensation is for the wrong things. For instance, if I lose my temper on the road or start to feel too upset about legal stuff, I shower 5x a day, stay inside for a few days, then probably act to nice, shy to the checkout person. If they look at me strangely....rinse and repeat.

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Ok. So, I just took a First Response EPT. It's a few days before my period ....it has two lines. I think I'm pregnant.

The second line was faint, so I bought a Clear Blue Advanced digital....Pregnant 1-2 (meaning 1-2 weeks after conception).

Well. This is going to change things.

Edited by Betweenyouandme

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Betweenyouandme - It sounds like you've been dealing with a lot even before a pregnancy (which I am interpreting your latest post to mean the second test confirmed it for you), but it also sounds like you've been looking for a path to help you get a better handle on things and to manage the various factors.

 

Since some of your concerns stem from interpersonal issues, perhaps there is a group session that might help give you some feedback and guidance?  My son has social deficits from autism and when he was younger I took him to a group therapy sessions for kids dealing with social issues - not all from autism.  They received feedback from each other about what they were doing well or making improvements on, but also (therapist guided) feedback on how some of their behavior needed modification so that they were more effectively communicating.  From interacting with others in the session, there were specifics that could be focused on to guide the discussion.  Not sure what might be available for adults, but I would imagine that there are similar groups.

 

Pregnancy, and the resulting hormonal overdrive, will probably complicate things further for you.  I really encourage you to find a medical practioner that you feel comfortable with and be very frank about any and all concerns you have.  Not all doctors are created equal and this is especially true for OBs.  I had sessions with at least 3 OBs before I settled on mine - it was time and money well spent to find the doctor that felt right for me.

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A group session would be really hard for me, but I agree it would be worth it if I could get helpful feedback. It sounds like it helped your son; that's great.

I took another test this morning. The line was noticeably lighter- it was *really* faint. But, I have a blood test scheduled for Tuesday if I don't get my period before that. I guess it's just a wait and see thing. I have more tests, and I'll take them each day, too, to see if the lines gets darker again, as well as 2 more digital.

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I know your blood test isn't scheduled until Tuesday, but do try to make a conscious effort to contain any stress (I'm assuming that since you seem to have taken more than 2 tests you are a bit stressed by this).  No matter what the results of the blood test, getting overly anxious is not going to help...and I realize that is one of those pesky "easier said than done" things.

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Thank you. The lines have gotten very dark and my last Clear Blue Digital on Saturday read "pregnant 2-3." So, I'm thinking the blood test will be positive but then you've got to worry about the doubling of hcg levels...

There's just so much online about all types of miscarriages. I want to be sure to avoid things I shouldn't do, but there sure are a lot of things that can go wrong that no one can help. Guess it's good I've been taking those vitamins.

Thank you for your support and checking in about this.

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Too much information can be a terrifying thing.  When I had an amnio when I was pregnant with my daughter, the doctor explained all the things that they would be checking for.  All it did was give me a whole lot of new things to be worried about even though the probability of any of those things happening was so minute.  The doctor was doing his job and doing it well which I totally appreciated and respected, but as a hormonally turbo-charged pregnant woman?  It was overwhelming.

 

My unsolicited advice is find a healthcare practioner you feel comfortable with, be extremely candid about your health history, including your mental health, your family medical history and focus on what are the potential concerns given your individual situation.  Pregnancy related emotions run the gamut for everyone.  Continue with the practical approach you've adopted on trying to take care of your body through a well balanced diet and consciously trying to create balance in your life/thoughts. 

 

Definitely ask the doctor about the vitamins and supplements - normally they want you to take specific prenatal vitamins.  You'll want to be careful about taking additional things, even OTC items, unless you are sure it won't create a concern for either your health or the baby's.

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Thank you. I went today for the blood test. They did the pregnancy test, as well as a blood panel to look at different levels, including my liver and thyroid. They said they'd call tomorrow with the results.

I have an HMO, so I just get a referral for an obgyn from my PCP who is friends with my dad. If it turns out horribly, I guess I can ask for another person, but there won't be tons of options. But, I've started writing down things to bring up.

I hope your daughter was okay. I can only imagine how worried you felt.

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Congratulations Betweenyouandme. I hope you are able to find some peace during this time as you gather info & see your doc.

Since this is the unhappiness thread in going to dump a big pile of unhappy for a moment. I found out today that my ex-bf, the psychopathic bastard, has recently gotten married & is expecting a child. It took me years to get past his mental & occasional physical abuse & not be scared to step outside & I don't want to be with him, but somehow hearing that today completely screwed with my mind. I can hear therapy talk in my head about it not being me, but since prior to me people just thought he was intense & maybe a little crazy, it's hard not to fall back into that thought pattern. He was obsessive with woman in the past & narcissistic, but not like what I went through. He played such mind games with me that my therapist felt pretty comfortable labeling him in absentia & even then I was downplaying his cruelty. I'm not sure why this has sent me into such a swirling mess of overthinking & tears, but here I am. I hate all the introspection drudging this crap up requires. Brains & feelings... why aren't they easier?

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Because you know intimately well what the new wife is in for and you know there's no way that baby will be in healthy environment. And there's nothing you can do.

Being out of the relationship is something you achieved -it isn't easy to break free of the mind fuckery that goes with that special kind of psychopath. But like after getting out of a burning building, when other people are still trapped, you don't think "Glad its not me!". You want to help, but most of us aren't equipped to deal with a fire. You feel more than sympathy - you have empathy.

I hope that things calm down for you soon - be patient with yourself. That messy anxiety and stress is part of the healing process. And yes, it does suck.

Betweenyouandme - she's fine thank you. I was just at that age where they recommend an amino. My biggest complications during the pregnancy was she got wildly active just when I was ready to go to sleep & periods when the only thing I could eat was super cheap frozen pizza ($1 tops) and lemon Italian ice. Everything else made me sick. This food phase hit 4-5 times during the pregnancy.

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Ramble, thank you for your well wishes and for sharing. I've been trying to think of what to say. I'm so sorry you're feeling sad, worried, and upset. I think it completely makes sense to feel shocked and in a whirl wind (not that you need others to tell you what feelings you should/shouldn't have).

Is the ex someone you ever see or have the chance to run into? I'm just thinking that could add to your worry and might be good to have a game plan in advance for if that were to happen.

This is just an idea. But, maybe it would help if when you're feeling really overwhelmed to try to think of the good days you had recently before you found this latest news out. I know when I have something bad happen, I immediately start thinking of all the other terrible, hurtful times and soon start thinking broad, untrue statements, like that I am clearly worthless. It helps to try to step back and say, "No. This is bad and those other things were bad. But, they are separate. I got through those past things. See, last week was pretty good. I had fun doing x,y,z. I slept better and ate healthfully. I can get through this, too, and have another good day tomorrow."

Please be safe.

DeLurker, I'm glad to hear she was okay! That nausea...I've heard other people dismiss it in passing, but I've read and read how awful it can get. I'm happy you made it through in the end.

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I recognize that many people have much bigger problems but if this winter doesn't lighten up really damn quick, I say we all just give up and take to our couches.

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I recognize that many people have much bigger problems but if this winter doesn't lighten up really damn quick, I say we all just give up and take to our couches.

Come to TX. Where I live, it will be in the 60s tomorrow, then the 70s until next Thursday.

I want to go to Palm Springs to soak up the 80s, but since I can't drink, I figure I'd be sad.

Edited by Betweenyouandme

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I recognize that many people have much bigger problems but if this winter doesn't lighten up really damn quick, I say we all just give up and take to our couches.

LOL.  Strangely enough it's not bugging me like it used to.  Except the cold brrrrr.  Though my dog is like WTF when I take her outside.

 

Betweenyouandme, congrats and I echo others to find a doctor you trust and are comfortable with and can be completely honest with. I don't have children, but can empathize a tiny bit, having been down pretty low and then feeling like I'm hit out of left field with something that could potentially be wonderful or not.  Hmm that doesn't make much sense but life can certainly rock you when you are least expecting it.

 

Ramble, I hope that you find peace with your situation.  I think DeLurker is pretty intuitive and right on the money.  Hopefully unloading here helps even a tiny bit.

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Since this is the unhappiness thread in going to dump a big pile of unhappy for a moment. I found out today that my ex-bf, the psychopathic bastard, has recently gotten married & is expecting a child. It took me years to get past his mental & occasional physical abuse & not be scared to step outside & I don't want to be with him, but somehow hearing that today completely screwed with my mind. I can hear therapy talk in my head about it not being me, but since prior to me people just thought he was intense & maybe a little crazy, it's hard not to fall back into that thought pattern. He was obsessive with woman in the past & narcissistic, but not like what I went through. He played such mind games with me that my therapist felt pretty comfortable labeling him in absentia & even then I was downplaying his cruelty. I'm not sure why this has sent me into such a swirling mess of overthinking & tears, but here I am. I hate all the introspection drudging this crap up requires. Brains & feelings... why aren't they easier?

 

ramble, very sorry you went through this ordeal and really hope you feel a bit better by now. I think part of why it hurts is that after all the damage he's inflicted to you he's able to move on with his life and start a new one, apparently without having to face any more consequences of his past actions. Chances are he'll screw up again but this is in the future and a probability, even high, is not going to neutralize the fact that you are now made to revisit painful memories. He's basically still playing mind games with you, even in absentia. Try to consciously put your mind into something that you have to get in fully, be it writing, assembling a big piece of furniture with complex explanation or whatever else will require your complete attention. Failing that, give yourself time for a good, ugly, noisy cry, allow yourself to feel as miserable as you can, and then, then, make the conscious decision to feel good about yourself and to give it a good start do something you're very, very good at. All the best to you! :-) 

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Well, I had gotten a positive pregnancy blood test from my PCP. So, I found an obgyn that my insurance approved. The first appointment was on Friday. They did a urine test (positive), took my history, did a blood test where they took a ton, and scheduled my next appointment. They said they only call if there's a problem in regard to the blood work. I'm very nervous. And then of course even if I don't hear back, my next appt isn't until over a month from now, so I'll be worried about that heartbeat. Ah, the worries of pregnancy. Looks like it never ends.

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Being pregnant can be an emotional roller coaster with all the things you can find to worry about but also this sense of awe and wonder.

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Just found this thread and am genuinely touched by the stories everyone has shared so far, especially your own intensely raw admissions, Betweenyouandme---blessings to you and your future child and I hope you're doing better lately, or at least somehow finding some peace and happiness in your life for now.

Ramble, hope you're feeling a bit more together after learning about your asshole ex'es recent news. Nothing worse than feeling like karma is totally dead---the devil truly takes care of his own. But maybe the asshole got some therapy since then and has tamed his own demons, hopefully for his child's sake.

So what's my own unhappiness contribution?

I wish I had a genuinely loyal, loving friend.

I'd love a true friend I can always count on to be there for me, who is willing to check in and is usually up for hanging out and who enjoys my company, and vise versa.

And the thing is, to everyone else, I'm sure it looks like I'm this popular gal with friends galore. I'm a natural extrovert, so I know a lot of fun folks and attend lots of fun events...but it's one thing to have tons of acquaintances, quite another to have actual true *friends.*

I get so damned lonely for female companionship and bonding with other females like me with similar interests. Drives me to drinking sometimes. And I can drink like a fish---I've been accused of either being a party animal or a drunk, depending on whom you talk to in my social circle.

And I feel so silly even typing all this, because I have an awesome husband who is my best friend in the universe. I'm close to my mom and talk to her daily/see her weekly. I have lovely in-laws and co-workers. Nice neighbors in a nice loft building in a nice area of town.

But as I get older, I just notice how tougher it is to make and keep good female friends.

I'm 38, but I'm a proudly ChildFree DINK, so it's natural to not have much in common with most of the other ladies down here in my Southern city.

And I've tried to start neighborhood women's groups, tried to have regular brunch buddies, offered invites to various new gals to hang out...but I end up just feeling forgotten and discarded and give up after a while, especially when it seems like I'm always the one making the effort and putting the work into budding friendships, only to end up never getting any similar effort in return. No one calls me just to chat.

I have maybe two or three female friends I've kept over the years---but the rest of my true friends are all either out of state/country and I only get to see them maybe once or twice a year on vacations.

It just makes me sad sometimes. Yet I'm always smiling and happy to others, like I haven't any cares in the world.

I start to wonder if I'm just some weird chick whom other women can't remotely relate to; maybe I come off as too flakey, fake, or just rather superficial. My mom told me once that I had no depth---sometimes I think she's right. I adore art and fashion and fun, watch ridiculous reality shows and have the sense of humor of a teenage boy, so I probably don't offer the most cerebral of conversations.

My husband tells me I'm just a unique artist type and that its hard for someone like me to relate to many other women. Maybe.

Or maybe I just see too many "girls night out" posts on my Facebook feed, which make me desperately wish I could be invited to one of those gatherings too and not feel so damned alone. Not gonna lie that the best part of "Sex and the City" series to me was just watching 4 longtime girlfriends love and support each other as much as those characters did.

So I deal with these lonesome bouts on my own, like when my husband snoozes on the couch on a Saturday night and I'd just love having some fun with friends.

My worst fear is dying alone...and my body rotting away for days before anyone even notices me being gone. It doesn't help that my husband is older, we're childless, my family is basically just my mom and a distant brother, and I obviously don't have a dependable friend in my life.

I know I have so much to be thankful for and I truly am, but sometimes this loneliness gets to me and I'm not sure why.

I'll be fine after tonight, but for now I'm just feeling lonesome longing for...a big loan from the girl zone??

Sorry for the novel here but thanks for reading, y'all.

Edited by Sun-Bun
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Oh Sun-Bun. Thank you, but I'm sorry! It does seem like you have a lot of positives. I do understand of being lonely on the inside. I can't be a good advice giver about this because I stay friends with someone a few months or even a couple years, and they go away or I figure out they're using me or always mad or...something. I can't develop deep relationships for any length of time without biiiiiig breaks.

I've always felt a deep desire for a twin. Or, what I imagine that bond could be like.

Anyway, I want you to know I read your post and I do care. I wish I had something to say to help.

Also, to me, shallow or superficial is when someone doesn't care about people. If people have on an ugly shirt or aren't popular, then they can go sit alone in the corner. To me, you certainly seem to be caring. I mean, I talk about a lot of sad stuff on PTV, but I watch tons of reality and SNL, and I laugh at blue comedies. I think that's okay.

Brunch is definitely something I miss from when I had friends.

I think you sound great.

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Thanks so much, Betweenyouandme---what a sweet post!

I guess I was having a pity party last night and felt the need to spill a bit having discovered this lovely thread and downing that third glass of wine.

You sound pretty awesome yourself, so I hope you're able to finally find that friend you truly deserve.

Friendship is so damned underrated as we get older. People get so wrapped up in their jobs, their kids, their hobbies, that they tend to forget how important regular social interaction with non-family members truly is.

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:)

I completely agree. People it seems get comfortable in their routines and look at people funny who just come up to them. Or, they just have no more room for new people in their lives. I guess try not to take it personally if you haven't done anything mean.

I don't feel like I fit into a group. I'm hoping one benefit of hopefully having a healthy baby will help me to meet other moms. I don't know if being a single mom is a huge no-no where I am, but I'll have to give it a whirl.

I think I need a hobby. Once it gets warm!

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Hello all! I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone for their kind thoughts after I verbally vomited my hurt & unhappiness about my abusive ex getting married. Even though I disappeared for a time it was something that meant a lot to me. I tend to got into hibernation mode when I'm hurting & this sent me there. I expected it to be bad for a few days, but I was stupid & did some additional snooping about the Son of Satan, his new bride & baby to be. That could only cause pain & it did & I was very frustrated with myself which added to my hurt. I excel at punishing myself & I reveled in that pity party of guilt & self recrimination for far too long. I think I'm about back to my version of normal. I have ADHD & while there are plenty of times I struggle to focus, I also have an unfortunate ability to hyper focus when I wish I wouldn't & not be able to let go off thoughts. I've had to practice my refocusing techniques a lot, but I think I'm close to being balanced again. It's so nice to be able to share this type of thing in relative anonymity & receive such support. Thank you all. :)

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Hey ramble thanks for checking back in, good to hear that you're almost balanced again. I'm a big believer in balance, i can feel it when i'm off somewhere.

 

I get what you're saying about over/hyper focusing, I do that too.  Think I'll unload a bit myself, I'm in a new situation for me, where work is going pretty badly, to the point where my boss isn't sure I'm right for the job.  I've always been good at work so this is new for me.  I feel like whatever I try, I am just banging my head against a wall...i get headaches and have trouble sleeping a lot.  I make it a point to try to chill on the weekend and don't check work e-mail because I'll worry more.  i try to get to the gym because I feel better being active.  I make just enough to live on, vacations and stuff are out of the question.

 

Thing is, if I'm frustrated and they're frustrated - maybe I'm NOT right for the job (been there almost 3 years by the way).  Are they moving the job goalposts?  Yeah a bit, but that's their right; it's not a case of "these jerks are sabotaging me".  I don't know.  I won't quit that's for sure (well, not without another job).  There are NO jobs for what I do in the area I live in.  I wouldn't mind doing something new, but I don't know what that would be to allow me still to pay my bills.  I'm not opposed to moving but I don't have the $ for that either.  So I'm grinding it out and hoping for a brainstorm.  

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