Getting Professional Help

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 21, 2016 5:03 PM GMT
    I've been dealing with a pretty serious bout of depression lately, mostly stemming from work issues and some other things. There is a lot in my life to be happy about, but I definitely feel like some things are missing, and it has weighed on me a lot.

    I haven't gone a day without a drink of alcohol in over a month-- and prior to that I drank maybe once every week to two weeks. Up until I get that drink, my attitude and mood get progressively worse and I am basically a huge asshole until then.

    I'm reacting to everything in my life and at work very badly, and my sleep patterns have started to degenerate, I've been having to take sleep aids every other night. Prior to this, I always fell asleep easily and slept like a rock. Lately, I seem to injure myself every time I work out, and it takes me days and days to recover from any exercise at all.

    I've begun to strongly consider seeing a counselor or therapist or psychologist or something, but I have never done that and don't know anything about it. Does anyone here have any experience with it? Was it scary? Worthwhile? Does it help to make sure the doctor isn't a religious fuckwad? What can I expect? I found two doctors (psychologists) nearby I think might be useful, but I don't really know what I am looking for.

    Thanks ahead of time for the advice....
  • badbug

    Posts: 866

    Feb 22, 2016 12:22 PM GMT
    Well several things..... (this is long)

    One, a psychologist is just a person. They don't have any magical powers or special abilities that anyone else has or doesn't have. That might sound silly but it is important to not let the perceived authority of others intimidate you needlessly. Psychology isn't math, it's a shit ton of guess work and no one will ever know your mind better than you yourself are able to.

    If you think your therapist is a moron or an overly religious idiot don't be afraid to find a new one. Just like there are plenty of bad dentists and good ones, bad doctors and good ones, bad RJ posters and good ones, so too with therapists. Probably even more so as therapy often requires a different touch with each different patient as treatment is so personal. Most doctors learn one way and apply that one way to all situations.

    If you don't like your therapist or feel you aren't getting anywhere after a few visits (or even 1 if it goes badly) find a new one. Don't waste time with someone who isn't reaching you. If they aren't reaching you, chances are they just aren't into working all that's an easy job to become lazy at. Imagine if your job required only talking and a few mental exercises, how easy would it be to just be bad at it?

    Two, quit drinking. You have identified you have a problem with alcohol. Alcohol is fattening, it's a depressant, it can be addictive, it costs money and clearly it is not making you happy. It's also an exercise in discipline to quit drinking, everyone everywhere can benefit from being more disciplined.
    Quit drinking immediately and resolve yourself not to drink again until your personal and professional situations are better. You can drink again in the future, tell yourself, so it doesn't seem like you are giving up something you enjoy but just taking a little break. It may be a shitty few weeks while your body gets used to not having any alcohol...chew gum, masturbate more, go for walks or jogs....find something to do instead of drinking.

    I'm reacting to everything in my life and at work very badly

    Do you mean things are stressing you out? Or do you mean you are reacting over emotionally to people in your life?

    For in the moment type stuff such as snapping at coworkers or friends etc.... try counting to 5 or 10 in your head before you respond to any negative situation. Sounds silly i am sure but a few extra seconds to think can really help remind yourself that becoming angry doesn't help anything and often leads to bad choices. How many movies are there about boxers trying to make the other boxer angry so he does dumb stuff in the ring?? It works in fighting because human brains react badly to the chemicals released when we are angry, our decision making abilities are lessened. Anyone who has played poker angry knows this.

    For overall "my life sucks" stuff, you need to find some sort of meaning or philosophy that allows you to maintain perspective. Some people do this with religion (which is foolish!) and some people do it with family or relationships and some people do it with goals or projects. I mean everyone does it with a combination of the three, even if you don't think you have a life philosophy that sort of is one! lol

    The point is to give yourself the ability to step outside of yourself and look at things as not being as important as they feel.

    Take the death of a beloved pet. Something that happened to me last year. My dog was so much to me and had been for a long time. That might sound silly to you, but regardless, that dog was more important to me than any person ever in my life past or present, any 3 people, any 10. I could say for quite certain, i would gladly trade the lives of everyone i have ever met to bring my dog back. Perhaps an unhealthy view no doubt, but i am just trying to point out that the death of my dog was a very big personal deal to me.

    In order to get past it without too much mental anguish or risk of personal injury, i had to think of reasons to be ok with the situation. I needed to create a narrative in my head why i was going to be ok and why this situation wasn't going to be as painful as i feared.

    The first step was allowing myself to understand and accept that it didn't need to be painful in order to have meaning. We all have this pre-set way we feel asthough we should react when something "bad" happens or is happening.....but you can challenge that. Feelings don't matter as much as actions. My dog was dying, i needed to ACT in order to end his suffering but i didn't need to feel any particular way about it. I needed to ACT after he died, continue to eat and sleep and live and interact with the world, but i didn't need to feel any particular way about it.

    You need to allow yourself the ability to find a reason or reasons to take control of your own mind and create your own narrative about what is happening to you and in the world. Your world.

    This is easy for some and very hard for others. It all depends on how willing your are to embrace new ideas and new views that lead you feeling in more control. That is what therapy is really, it is giving yourself the tools and ability to see things differently. If you go to therapy convinced that you needn't change anything and that all your thoughts are exactly the way they should be and there is no reason to change anything because the world is the way it is and you are the way you are....then of course you are right! If you go to therapy with an open mind seeking to learn and believe that it can help you in some way, then of course you are right then too!

    As for your work out are aging. Sorry. I am 35 and i can tell you if i worked out like i did at 30 my arms would fall off and that would be that. Recovery becomes more and more important as we age. Proper diet, proper warm ups, proper form, proper rest, massage, stretching all become more and more important. Daily things, like using the computer, improper posture, sleeping on the correct mattress etc. etc. all take their tolls too.

    At 30 i could sit at the computer all day and not feel anything. If i tried the same today, my shoulders would fall off.

    Who knows why you are getting injured more. But that fact it is happening suggest that you need to change a few things or atleast keep more attention to proper functioning and best practices to maintain that functioning.

    As for my personal experiences with therapy, yes the first time was scary. I had never seen a therapist before i didn't know what to expect. I have had many bad therapists and psychiatrists and one ok one, and one good one.

    I am not sure what you can expect to get out of the experience. I do recommend going. I also recommend joining a mental health forum of some kind and interacting with people who have experience dealing with these types of issues. Crazy people, such as myself, often have had to look deeply into the root of their own suffering and mental short comings in order to survive. When you are a certain level of fucked up, you need to develop an ability to reprogram yourself to a degree or else you'll end up dead or in jail or locked up. icon_twisted.gif

    So even if you feel your problems aren't that bad, that's good. It might make you feel good to hear or read about people that are much more fucked up than you, i can promise you'll find a few that can relate and offer good advice.

    Treat this as any other problem. If your car had problems you'd google shit and maybe go to a car forum and get advice from someone who had similar issues. Then you'd go to a mechanic. Why should this be any different? Get a few second opinions and go from there.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2016 7:33 PM GMT
    Badbug, of everyone on this forum, I'm glad you're the one who responded. I often admire the cool, honest, realistic way you approach topics. Thanks for the insightful, thoughtful comments on my questions here. I think you're right, I just need someone to help me sort out my own feelings. Oh, and yeah I know I'm getting older, but it did seem like I aged a bunch in just a few months. Maybe that's how it works, eh?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2016 11:40 PM GMT
    Drinking with depression is like pouring gas on a fire. It will not end well.

    Beyond that, a few random thoughts:
    Psychiatrists are medical doctors. They prescribe medicine. If you see a psychiatrist, don't be surprised if he prescribes medicine.

    Psychologists are not medical doctors so they can't prescribe medicine.

    Use the first session to interview the professional. Just don't waste his or your time. Prepare yourself in advance. Ask every question you have. Tell him upfront that you're interviewing for a professional and make sure he understands. If he makes you pay for it, move on.

    Don't expect to get it right the first time.

    Most people don't understand the word "depression". Though they can more annoying than jock itch, they're trying to help. Tell them what you need.

    Get a friend who you can trust when you're out of your mind. No matter what you have to do what he says.

    Good luck.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 23, 2016 1:38 AM GMT
    Thanks jim. good advice. Part of why I wanted to reach out to a pro is that I don't really have any friends who I can rely on like that. I do have a partner, but he isn't always the best person to do that stuff either, I guess.
  • badbug

    Posts: 866

    Mar 05, 2016 3:32 PM GMT

    Thanks for the kind words. icon_smile.gif

    How has your search gone? Have you tried to kick the booze? When i quit drinking i found always having a nice cold water handy helped quite a bit.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 06, 2016 1:32 PM GMT
    I'm drinking less, but still drinking. That sounds bad but it is pretty much under control.

    I did find a psychologist who specializes in the problems I have been having, and isn't a religious sociopath. We've only had a few sessions, I feel like he is still getting the 411 on me, but I am optimistic he will help. Some of my problems have subsided on their own, butI want to be better able to cope on my own in the future so definitely still going to continue. I'm getting married soon, and I want to go into that in a good place.

    Thanks again for your input, guys.