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  1.  (10999.1)
    Damn. Wow. You all are so amazing. My start up post was waaay too vague and I finally have the time (thank fuck!) to do a proper one. I'd do a proper response to everyone but there is just no way. I'm surprised at how much of response this thread got.

    So, What I have, and the basics of why:
    Depression, of course. My parents were missionaries, this involved a shit-ton of moving growing up, particularly between the ages of 9 and 16, in which my family did not stay anywhere longer than 2 years. While moving to different places is not inherently bad, the constant moving, and so often is really unhealthy, especially during the teen years. I could go into how transition between places work, the most important thing is that it takes about two years before things start to make sense again. On top of the moving, I have/had Dysnomia, which is a language disability that basically is a social handicap. While I manage it fairly well now, when I was a kid, I said the wrong things all the time, and was an extremely easy target for bullies. Oh, and I cried easy too. There are still times when people (usually people who find language easy) get on my case because I'm not explaining myself as well as I am "supposed to", which generally makes me feel shitty and angry. But that is rare, thankfully. Oh, and once my sister hit her teen years, she got some weird hormonal changes and became scary and emotionally abusive. And my dad tried to control her (and failed, and made things worse). And my dad is super conservative.

    But that wasn't the worst part. Oh noooo. Let's just say there is a country in south Asia that is largely Muslim and is in the news a fuckton. For good reason. (By the way, most Muslims are really awesome people, but with any religion that is the national religion, things were and are... shitty - to put it mildly.) And the mission agency my parents worked for suggested my family to work in that country (with generally educated refugees), after attempting and failing to start work in other countries (Tajikistan and Kazakhstan). There was a boarding school not far from the city my parents would be in that my sister and I could go to. My mom even made a point of talking to parents of students of that school, and they all told her it was a good place. By the way, my mom did everything in her power to take good care of my sister and me. I don't blame her one bit for all the bad shit that has happened. What they failed to tell my parents was that sexual harrasment was normal in that country, or even the basics of how to respond to it, or that as females, my mom, sister and I had to be on our guard at all times or else the worst could happen. I remember reading "Not Without My Daughter" beforehand, which wasn't even vaguely enough of a preparation for what happened. And on top of that, they failed to tell my mom that in fact, the school they sent us to was indeed, extremely toxic, insular, and could take up to four years for a new student to "fit in". Well, at least not until about the time we left, a year and a half later, my parents' marriage a mess (it wasn't that good to start with), and my sister and I stuck with serious depression. And I suppose I could say I had/have social anxiety by that point too. The experience was, how can I phrase it? Traumatic! Yep! I more or less have PTSD because the people who were suppose to back my family up failed to do their fucking jobs! (Yes, I am a little pissed about this.) Everything else past this has been more or less been an improvement.

    I also struggle with Fatigue. I think it's a mix of having all of that baggage to deal with (and the general triggering that comes with), and possibly some sleep disorder of sorts. Basically, I am tired all of the time, could sleep (off and on) all day long (and then the whole night too) without really trying (I've done it many many weekends/days/etc) and just about everything is done in a fog, and everything exhausts me. Granted, it's worse right now due to the toxic triggering job. At my previous job, which I loved and felt safe at (and was loved) the fatigue was not nearly so overwhelming.

    Holy Fuck that was too long. I'll get into how I manage things the next time I post. The good news is, aside from the shitty toxic job, things are actually getting much better.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeFeb 28th 2013
    @trini - I sometimes get insomnia, and then when I finally do fall asleep, I can easily sleep 12+ hours, even if I'm not sleep deprived. I used to think it was just a a teen thing when I was younger, but even know I still have really strong sleep inertia and can just go forever.

    @sseloske - I have a couple friends who have a medical marijuana card for anxiety and they both love it. They're not regular potheads, and one of them was never into drugs and only decided to do it because was on so many meds for various things, all of which could be treated by cannabis, that his doctor suggested it so he wouldn't have to be taking a cocktail of Rx drugs every day. The other friend doesn't take it regularly and just uses it when she starts to have episodes, or of she has a particularly rough day or week. If your anxiety gets pretty bad it could be a really good way to treat it without having to mess with your brain chemistry.
  2.  (10999.3)
    @Argos: The reason why I have been thinking sleep disorder lately is because 12 (or more) hours is my normal, unless I have to be up by a certain time (a couple days a week). That's just fucking scary.
    • CommentTimeFeb 28th 2013
    I've never been labeled with any schizotypy but the outlines of the personality disorder rings a lot of bells. I would also avoid the label for personal/freaking out ish reasons - my brother is full blown schizophrenic. I recognize that it's a stupid bias but still, there's the disorder of depression and then there's Real Mental Issues of schizophrenia. Maybe because I know I can still function and trust my own mind most of the time with just the mood disorder, but with schiz you fully can't trust what your brain is telling you.

    Anyway, it's come up. I look away, do some version of sticking my fingers in my ears and singing "LALALALA!!" But I may have noted I'm not great at actually working on my problems.
  3.  (10999.5)
    The work life shaping the mood of the people listing depression is also something i encountered, it was a situation of being important and useful to a company that was obsessed with building a team of like minded people that team were a bunch of men, so lad culture dominated and the atmosphere in the office was very neanderthal and not one i was willing to go along with, also being vocal and calling out my bosses idea's to do a zynga and make a clone of a zynga game didn't help.

    It lead to a period of months were i had little in the work experience column that wasn't freelance and needed to see this out, and it was mental torture, and lead to me dropping back into a very withdrawn unmotivated state, now i'm a lot happier surrounded by people i like working with and the bullshit is zero.
  4.  (10999.6)
    In my mother's side of the family things like Tourette's, trichotillomania, OCD, ADHD, Manic Depression, agoraphobia, panic attacks, food issues, Aspergers, and some schizophrenia run free. Aside from schizophrenia and Tourette's, I've got the lot to varying degrees. (it seems that the gene of Tourette's usually goes with the males and trichotillomania goes with the girls)

    There's the weird and unexplained brain damage stuff, which isn't totally diagnosed properly, but is quantifiably there due to the brain scans and vision issues. My ability to keep track of time is shot; I am a master at losing time and being late. Also, there is great brain fog. I used to be a quick thinker. I am lost quite easy these days. I was diagnosed many years ago as having "Organic Brain Disorder". (I enjoyed this, because it sounded like I was an android gone flesh.)

    I have been put on various medications by my parents and developed a massive distrust for such things. However, I discovered that Adderall makes me a more collected and less scattered and flurry of a human being, and changed my thinking of mental health drugs. Unfortunately, Adderall does terrible things to my neurological/musculoskeletal health issues, so I am constantly warring with myself if it's worth it. I really do think that mental illness issues should not be medicated except in life threatening circumstances, or after years of personal attempts of trying to develop coping strategies.

    The panic and agoraphobia I have learned to deal with by accepting the stress and not fighting it. I learned this by reciting the Litany Against Fear.

    "I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing......Only I will remain."

    When I have an OCD/agoraphobic/panic attack, when I'm running late and freak out because I have the wrong socks and I can't find the scarf I need and I can't bear to leave the house without things I suddenly feel I NEED because otherwise I'll feel and look stupid, I just chill myself out, think of the Litany and go at an even pace, because I rationally tell myself that being in a panicked flurry is not going to help me find what I need, and if I'm going to be late, I'm going to be late. This frustrates those around me, to be sure, but... anxiety manifests in me as not just psychological discomfort, but it complicates and worsens my neurological issues. Stress physically hurts, so I have to give myself some allowances.

    There's aesthetic sensitivity, though I don't know what it's properly called, but I cannot relax or think or feel right if my surroundings aren't to my specifications. It is for this reason that I realize I cannot stay in my current living situation. I know that I need to give myself some slack with my mental quirks, and my OCD is making me miserable in my current living situation. I need cleanliness. I need order. I need things to match. I need things placed properly. It frustrating, but I cannot think clearly in a visually chaotic environment.

    There is also the Narcissist parents I was raised by, leaving me with some Inverted Narcissistic traits that I am trying to deal with, and constantly warring with. Inside, I really just want a Narcissist to make me feel devoured and complete and owned. Those relationships don't tend to go well, but healthy smiley partner relationships don't tend to be sharp enough for me. For this, I must find therapy.

    And then there's the sex stuff. Oversexualized at a young age and with some sexual abuse at 6 years old has wired me a bit differently than most.

    I am honestly quite surprised I did not end up with schizophrenia. I've got every one of the contributing factors that normally lead someone to have it.
    • CommentAuthorDarkest
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    My fear of the dark came back last night. I thought I had that beat. Apparently not. I wouldn't mind but it made me miss a package at work.

    I feel so cold and alone when there's no light.
    • CommentAuthorbadbear
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    I think if you are inclined towards these kinds of tiredness problems then emotional and social stress are just as exhausting as physical stress. More so sometimes.

    The only thing I've ever found to really work on fatigue like that (and I've tried most things) is hardcore, tedious routine. Find a daily schedule that kinda works for you and stick to it - for me this meant about 6 months of feeling dreadful before I got used to being awake during working hours but now I count myself as being pretty normal, providing I don't deviate too much from my activity patterns. I still nap a lot on weekends and have patches of brain busting insomnia but am otherwise functional and it's not so bad. My optimum amount of sleep is still about 10 hours a night, but hey everyone is different right?
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013 edited
    I'm fairly sure i have depression. Mostly from being screamed at every other hour for being an asshole, or "stealing people's stuff" or being "heartless" at work (I manage a pawnshop. Even taking into account the sources, i.e. crackheads, hustlers, thieves, after a while it still wears you down). Anxiety for sure, amplified from trying the synthetic pot shit and having a very bad reaction when it first started circulating. Never again. I woke up a few nights ago uncontrollably shivering and burying my face in my still-sleeping-wife's chest, babbling about how scared I was because I thought I was dying. We figured out I had an anxiety attack while i was sleeping.

    I destroy my fingernails on an almost OCD like basis.

    Since getting married and taking this job, i have become incredibly lonely. I never see my dirtworld (real life) friends anymore and i had to stop most of my online gaming because of my work schedule, so other people that i had regular interaction with are also out of the picture. My wife is also fairly friend starved, simply because both she has a hard time making them and because her last major friendship betrayed her (a few months before she was set to be the Maid of Honor at our wedding).

    I also get Insomnia, and as weird as it sounds, it seems like it's seasonal. I suppose it could be learned behavior from school ( i was an art major, hardly slept when i had to take 3 studio classes in a semester.) But it seems like whenever it changes from fall to winter and from winter to spring, i can't sleep for anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks.

    On a side note, i do wish I could buy everyone here a beer or something, give'em a hug and tell them everything's ok. I think if we all had that happen a little more, that small amount of comfort would go a long way. Hell, i feel better just talking about it here. Thanks for the outlet.
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    This thread has moved me much more than I expected it would. I didn't realize how much I wanted to talk about it all.

    It's cliched to say/think, "It's good to know I'm not alone in _____.", but it's cliched for a reason, I suppose. You people are a comfort. Thanks for that. It's a relief to get it out and hear about other's experiences. Even my incredibly supportive partner and my closest friend in the world, who both listen when I need to talk, can't fully understand how it feels since neither suffer from the similar afflictions.

    It's especially gratifying to hear that other people are wary of taking medication, as well as hear about some of the success and failures people have had while on it.

    So, thanks again and vile internet hugs to you all.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    I just want to say I'm reading and digesting; I want to give this thread its due attention. It's really amazing that you guys can put this stuff out here like this.
  5.  (10999.13)
    So, how I got/am getting better:

    As unpleasant as having Dysnomia (language LD) was, I lucked out in that my parents noticed something was wrong when I was four, took me to a specialist, and my mom learned how to help me with academic stuff. Also, the visual part of my brain had better connections etc, so my creative/artistic side got nurtured and used to help me do better at the language stuff. So academically, I was almost always fine. Regardless of the bullying, I went to academically great schools until I was sixteen. (Academically, the boarding school was amazing. I'm absolutely positive that the classes I took there were basically college level, which made California public schools amusing at best.)

    I first went through therapy in the second half of tenth grade/when my family moved to California. Well, my entire family was getting therapy. Because the place we were at was a counseling center for Missionaries and Pastors, my next door neighbors were families who were just like us, and we fit in for the first time. I had a boyfriend, and a best friend, and if I wasn't all messed up with depression it would have been beyond amazing. The therapy sucked. I didn't think I needed it, and the therapists were inept anyway. One of the most efficient ways to find out if a therapist is shit is if when finding out I was an artist, they ask me to bring my stuff in, they compliment me a lot, and think that a) would actually improve things, and b) their opinion on art stuff actually mattered. It probably didn't help that it was a Christian based organization. I had lots of fun - with the boyfriend and best friend. Being included - one of the group, was a mostly new and wonderful thing for me.

    Ironically, just as my parents (and thus my family) were out of the program, I did meet with a therapist that was half decent, but by that point my parents were no longer missionaries, the mission agency was no longer footing the bill, and my parents couldn't afford it. By this point, I started doing my own research on trying to understand why I was the way I was. I became quite good at picking apart all the things that happened.

    Fast forward to first year of (city) college, and first time really working (fast food), and I tried therapy again. (Also, my senior year of high school was absolute shit.) They put me on prozac, which did nothing, the therapist wasn't any good, and I didn't get that I could just ask for a different one at that point. By that point, I was getting better support from online friends, and was taking great art and photo classes, especially figure drawing classes - those specifically did wonders for me. Also at this point I had started blogging, and over time the blogs became a venting space for dealing with my traumas. And eventually, I got tired of typing the same things over and airing my dirty laundry.

    Unfortunately, just about every job I had also left me feeling shitty, and I was not good at them (too slow). Turns out, being great at school does not always translate as being good at work. Eventually I was working somewhere that covered my health insurance. And as a result of my wrists being wrecked because of overuse (computer/art/music/etc) and a car accident, (and other things) the depression got bad enough that I broke into tears when I finally managed to get to my Nurse Practitioner, who sent me to short term counseling, in which I discovered one of my big problems is that I rarely felt understood (childhood moving), who then sent me to long term counseling. It was then that I was prescribed Celexa (generic: Citalopram), which actually worked. It dulled my ability to feel, but it also made it possible for me to function. They may have put me on wellbutrin at some point but that never really helped. I also had a really good therapist, which helped me understand and manage things better. Unfortunately, because I wasn't consistently working enough hours, I lost my health insurance, stopped therapy, was given what was basically an endless refill of my prescription, and plateaued emotionally.

    Not much later, I moved up to WI and helped my mom stay sane while she cared for my grandfather (who was abusive). I did attempt therapy, but the counselor sucked. He wasn't even bothered to read the psychology articles I gave him about people like me who had grown up moving around. The Citalopram was upped a little, I stopped taking Welbutrin, and things were... stressful. Work was the only really good thing. In the beginning of last year I got a new doctor, new therapist, and they have been working with and helping me get better. My therapist was the one to point out that my experiences in south Asia were traumatic (especially after hearing me talk about how I didn't trust my judgment in regards to relationships). So now I'm starting exposure therapy. And his background is in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. One of the things that I find especially helpful is that he tried to rephrase and explain what he thinks I am talking about so that he interpretations are as accurate as possible. His approach is talking about what happened, but finding ways to change the way I think about it so that the thought patterns are healthier and less destructive.

    Sadly, within the last year, the place I loved to work for went out of business. And the place I work at now is toxic (I'm always too slow, among other things). As a result, the generally bad but manageable fatigue got bad enough for my doctor to prescribe a new medication (stimulant) to help my energy levels. And I just started it Tuesday. It's helping quite a bit - the amount of stuff I got done around my apartment in the past couple days has been astounding, but I don't know if it's enough to make work better. I also don't know if it will keep helping me or if it will wear off or whatever else might happen. I have an appointment about a month from now to discuss that. But that's where I'm at.

    Eventually, I'd like to not need the meds, or take really low levels of the meds, but especially with all the heavy stuff that gets brought up in therapy, I need something to keep me functional. Do the meds dull my creative urges? Yes, but they also make it possible for me to keep a job and have an apartment, and so on. And someday, I will be healthier mentally, and be able to stop taking them, or take significantly smaller doses. That's my goal, at least. I used to be anti-medication, but have learned that they are a useful tool, and if all else fails, something to help make things easy enough to be manageable. They aren't the answer in and of themselves, but if that keeps me from having an emotional breakdown every couple of weeks (which was what was happening before I started the Citalopram), it's worth it.

    Hopefully this wasn't too long.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    I haven't had time to do much more than skim here and i have to be up and awake enough to drive in a few hours so all i have time to say is

    This is a truly amazing place full of truly amazing people and i am very glad it and they exist, strength and good fortune to you all!
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    I have... something. I don't know what because I'm undiagnosed. And I'm loathe to self-diagnose because I also have a whole raft of non-mental ailments that took me YEARS to get nailed down into something coherent, a process that was massively complicated by me attempting to faff it all out myself on wikipedia and putting the medical professionals off doing the correct tests as a result. (seriously, convincing yourself you have stomach cancer, and then going through the endoscopy and colonoscopy only to find you have a healthier digestive tract than almost everyone else they've seen that year is NOT pleasant. Still, I have ultrasound piccies of my gall bladder, which not many people can claim...)

    I think I'm afraid of having someone say 'yes, your brain means you are thing X or thing Y' because while I know my brains isn't right, I know it's at a far lower grade level of upset than most.

    It's my latent Britishness. I don't want to make a fuss.

    I still feel like I should just be able to handle it, stiff upper lip and that.
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    @ Flybo Flabyo (honest typo which I thought I'd share, sorry):

    I think I understand what you mean. Every appointment, psych or other, is always constantly scattergunned with apologies from me to the doc on the grounds that I'm just wasting their time and should really stand up straight and get a grip, etc, etc. I think it might be a bit of a male thing as well as Plucky Brit Syndrome - not wanting to look weak or vulnerable and all that other bollocks on whatever level. Plus, in my case, there's the pathalogical aversion to showing anyone anything from beneath the protective facade I keep between the world and me, which doesn't really help. It took my one good friend literally yelling at me for over a year before I eventually went to the Dr's re: depression: more to shut them up than because I thought it'd do any good.

    As for the fear of someone saying "yes", there wasn't any sort of epiphany "allelujah" moment for me when The Official Diagnoses came through, and (as much as I wish it had) definitely didn't provide a Get Out of Jail Free card for everything I regret and all the aspects of myself I dislike but knowing it's Not Just Me and that there's a possibility of maybe being able to do something about it, even if it's only because I know which direction to point, shone a little light where there'd been nada but an endless feeling of going nowehre fast. If nothing else, at least I now know for sure and have options.

    My only problem with that is that, without fail, every headshrinker I've seen has started out by asking what I want to achieve from the sessions. I'm still trying to figure that out beyond giving them a list of things I don't want to be. But because I feel like me and my life have been built around nothing except those negative things, I'm not sure what, if anything, there'll be left if I ever do manage to sort them out.

    Oh dear. My head seems to have got stuck in my navel. Ah well. Time for bed, said Zebedee.
    • CommentAuthorMrMonk
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    OK. Ten minutes of posting, then back to work.

    I'm a little bit concerned to see so many of the regular Whitechaplets here writing about mental illness. Is it really so widespread, is it overdiagnosed, or does this site just attract the mentally disturbed?

    I've already written out my family history in a lengthy post on another thread that got buried somewhere around here.

    My diagnosis depends on which psychiatrist you talk to:

    1) major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, with possible schizophrenia;
    2) bipolar II, generalized anxiety disorder, with schizophrenia and OCD;
    3) bipolar II, generalized anxiety disorder, and possibly high functioning Asperger's; and
    4) "oh, definitely autism spectrum disorder. the other symptoms may be due to socialization problems, but we can work on that with therapy."

    I'm sticking with p-doc (1), though diagnoses (2) or (3) might be more accurate. P-doc (1) is an older man who has been through the system himself, and emerged intact on the other side. Despite diagnosis (1), I've learned that my treatment (arrived at after numerous trials) is actually widely-accepted for diagnoses (2) and (3) (anti seizure med, anti psychotic, and CBT). P-doc (1) also relies on whether the reported symptoms are consistent with what he observes and what family members report. P-docs (2) and (3) rely primarily on self-reporting, which isn't always trustworthy. P-doc (4) has the most engaging personality and is also a therapist (and very smart), but she's more than a bit of a woo-woo.

    I also participate in DBSA (a sort of lightly-monitored peer support organization), which has been a big help toward keeping things in perspective.
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    Is it really so widespread, is it overdiagnosed, or does this site just attract the mentally disturbed?

    Probably yes. And also, any healthy people on the board just aren't piping up to say they're healthy. We self-selected to talk about our brain wiring.

    It's seemed to me that schizotypy and autism spectrum are on opposite ends of "what we do with social information that comes at us." But that's just lippy bitch's observations, I'm not in anyway trained in psychiatry.
  6.  (10999.19)
    "Is it really so widespread, is it overdiagnosed, or does this site just attract the mentally disturbed?"


    Seriously though, I think most people have some sort of issue, it's just whether or not they want to acknowledge them or not. I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of getting help for.
    • CommentAuthorMrMonk
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2013
    @razrangel A quick google (multiple, sourced) shows that schizophrenia and asperger's share many symptoms (DSM and articles) and that they sometimes coexist. Anyway, I didn't make the diagnoses.

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