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A long-overdue vent (or, an essay on uncertainty)

N

NorinTheWariest

New member
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
2
Location
United Kingdom
So, here's the thing. I've been urged by my friends to sit down and type out some sort of cohesive framework to my thoughts and problems, but, for reasons that I hope will become clear, I haven't - not in full. Not for months. I have little hope of any clarity or coherence here and I apologise in advance for what will almost certainly be a mess of a post, if I even end up pressing the post thread button. So. Sorry.

I turn 30 this year and I've struggled with anxiety and depression since I was 16. That's half my life with a crappy black shadow hanging over my head. Tried to kill myself four times. Damn near succeeded on one of those occasions. It took me until I was 22 before I tried any medication and I've been through all the major SSRIs with no results. Sertraline did nothing. Fluoxetine made me a zombie, which is the closest to successful, I guess - if I wasn't feeling much of anything at all I wasn't that depressed. But that's a 9 month window that disappeared in a druggy haze. Citalopram, the latest, drove my anxiety through the roof, and I've not been off it that long so it may explain a thing or two. Maybe. I'm currently fighting to try bupropion, though in the UK it's only prescribed for quitting smoking of all things.

This would be all and well if I believed for a moment that depression were the cause of my problems, but I think it's just a symptom. It took me a long time - years - to reach a moment of clarity, but there was a moment at the end of last year when I realised that, at some point, I had given up all my goals and dreams. I no longer did anything I was interested in. No longer read books, painted, wrote... just sat around playing games with friends and being miserably unemployed. I remember having goals and working towards them but while I was willing at the time to blame depression and circumstance for failing to achieve them I've analysed (in great, sleepless depth) my past and current behaviour and there's something a lot less logical than that at foot.

I procrastinate. Constantly. And not just procrastinating things I don't want to do, but things I genuinely do, until all desire to do so has faded. Motivation has little power over me. Discipline, a little more, but as soon as I intend to do something, there is an INSTANT cognitive switch that takes the task at hand, shoves it back and says "hey, yeah, this isn't important, you can do this tomorrow." Tomorrow, of course, never happens. I've been aware of doing this for a while but wallowed in self-loathing, labelling it as laziness and lack of motivation, until I came across a truly excellent TED talk on procrastination by Tim Urban. If you're interested, give it a google; it simultaneously broke me and lifted me up, because, after years of feeling completely alone and despondent, feeling that I was self-sabotaging without rhyme or reason, I'd found someone who was talking about my exact behaviour. I am what he would describe as an archetypal 'disastinator', someone who doesn't ever get anything done because their circumstance and personality have left them in a catastrophic limbo. The part that broke me was that, while I believe I have found an answer, I haven't found a solution. I'll drop a little quote from his talk here:

" If you Google “how to stop procrastinating,” you’ll find about 1,000 articles, all offering terrific advice on how to do it. The problem is that the articles are always written for sane people, and procrastinators aren’t sane people. Being insane, procrastinators are always under the delusion that they’re sane, so they read an advice article and think they’ll be able to apply it to their life. But then it doesn’t work out that way."
I am not in control of my life. I have lost all motivation and all drive because any that I can muster is immediately diverted. To get anything done - ANYTHING - is exhausting, because I'm fighting with myself and usually losing. I know exactly what I need to do - find the right medication, find fulfilling work (or any work at all at this point, but jobhunting is a surefire way to send myself into a depressive spiral), gain confidence - but every attempt to push myself in the right direction inevitably ends up spiralling somewhere else. I hate it. It feels like a battle lost before the first shot is fired.

I've talked about it in passing with friends and they've all offered kind words and advice of things I could do which is all very well and supportive but my problem isn't in the not knowing of what to do but the DOING. I am, by nature, deeply rational and introspective but this isn't something that can be rationalised.

If I'm quite honest I don't know how to wrap this post up, except by asking... has anyone else felt this way? Has anyone beaten this? And... how? Because I can't find a way.
 
Brownangel

Brownangel

Active member
Joined
Jun 6, 2020
Messages
35
Location
london
So, here's the thing. I've been urged by my friends to sit down and type out some sort of cohesive framework to my thoughts and problems, but, for reasons that I hope will become clear, I haven't - not in full. Not for months. I have little hope of any clarity or coherence here and I apologise in advance for what will almost certainly be a mess of a post, if I even end up pressing the post thread button. So. Sorry.

I turn 30 this year and I've struggled with anxiety and depression since I was 16. That's half my life with a crappy black shadow hanging over my head. Tried to kill myself four times. Damn near succeeded on one of those occasions. It took me until I was 22 before I tried any medication and I've been through all the major SSRIs with no results. Sertraline did nothing. Fluoxetine made me a zombie, which is the closest to successful, I guess - if I wasn't feeling much of anything at all I wasn't that depressed. But that's a 9 month window that disappeared in a druggy haze. Citalopram, the latest, drove my anxiety through the roof, and I've not been off it that long so it may explain a thing or two. Maybe. I'm currently fighting to try bupropion, though in the UK it's only prescribed for quitting smoking of all things.

This would be all and well if I believed for a moment that depression were the cause of my problems, but I think it's just a symptom. It took me a long time - years - to reach a moment of clarity, but there was a moment at the end of last year when I realised that, at some point, I had given up all my goals and dreams. I no longer did anything I was interested in. No longer read books, painted, wrote... just sat around playing games with friends and being miserably unemployed. I remember having goals and working towards them but while I was willing at the time to blame depression and circumstance for failing to achieve them I've analysed (in great, sleepless depth) my past and current behaviour and there's something a lot less logical than that at foot.

I procrastinate. Constantly. And not just procrastinating things I don't want to do, but things I genuinely do, until all desire to do so has faded. Motivation has little power over me. Discipline, a little more, but as soon as I intend to do something, there is an INSTANT cognitive switch that takes the task at hand, shoves it back and says "hey, yeah, this isn't important, you can do this tomorrow." Tomorrow, of course, never happens. I've been aware of doing this for a while but wallowed in self-loathing, labelling it as laziness and lack of motivation, until I came across a truly excellent TED talk on procrastination by Tim Urban. If you're interested, give it a google; it simultaneously broke me and lifted me up, because, after years of feeling completely alone and despondent, feeling that I was self-sabotaging without rhyme or reason, I'd found someone who was talking about my exact behaviour. I am what he would describe as an archetypal 'disastinator', someone who doesn't ever get anything done because their circumstance and personality have left them in a catastrophic limbo. The part that broke me was that, while I believe I have found an answer, I haven't found a solution. I'll drop a little quote from his talk here:



I am not in control of my life. I have lost all motivation and all drive because any that I can muster is immediately diverted. To get anything done - ANYTHING - is exhausting, because I'm fighting with myself and usually losing. I know exactly what I need to do - find the right medication, find fulfilling work (or any work at all at this point, but jobhunting is a surefire way to send myself into a depressive spiral), gain confidence - but every attempt to push myself in the right direction inevitably ends up spiralling somewhere else. I hate it. It feels like a battle lost before the first shot is fired.

I've talked about it in passing with friends and they've all offered kind words and advice of things I could do which is all very well and supportive but my problem isn't in the not knowing of what to do but the DOING. I am, by nature, deeply rational and introspective but this isn't something that can be rationalised.

If I'm quite honest I don't know how to wrap this post up, except by asking... has anyone else felt this way? Has anyone beaten this? And... how? Because I can't find a way.
Hey, I don't really have any advice for you, but I hope you find something that will help you. I can offer support and can listen if that helps. I think you can get through this, it seems like you are strong and are willing to put in the work. Are there any hobbies that you enjoy?
 
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