The Depression/Anxiety Thread
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31-10-2012, 10:39 PM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
Love the thread.

My mental illness is what "saved" me. I was diagnosed Bipolar 20 years ago. I don't think my parents really took it seriously then, and although they do accept it more now, they still think that a relationship with God and Christ is right and can help me, when it was the most toxic thing for so many years for me simply because all religion does is feed off emotion and feelings. Well, if you're emotions and feelings are fucked up, the guilt and shame and fear of religion is similar to multiple, many, and frequent internal atomic explosions, as I'm sure many of you can attest. The sequitur here is by religion's own definition of how to come by truth it completely explodes into oblivion.

I was Mormon. And as you probably know, Mormons take their theology very seriously. Scripture study, daily family and personal prayers, Sunday meetings, meetings during the week, one class every other day out of school to study the scriptures, functions, events, baptisms for the dead, afterlife-themed funerals, temples, missions (all of my eight-person family went on one except my mother), repeat ad nauseum to generation after generation after generation. Those of you with anxiety and depression, can you imagine going door to door telling people about the "good news of the Gospel" and how wonderful God is and how he made your life happy and fulfilled when all you wanted to do was slit your wrists? It was excruciating. I've received countless blessings and prayers. My parents still put my name in the boxes of the temple for "special blessings". At Mormon temples, there are little pieces of papers next to boxes that you can write names down for people who need special blessings. They then take those names and place them on the altar and someone kneels at the altar and says a prayer while other members stand in a circle around the altar and repeat the words of the prayer. Never did me a damn bit of good.

I've been on medication relatively non-stop for over a decade. Twice I spent a week in psych wards. I had multiple suicide plans. 12 years ago, at the end of my rope, my then wife and I decided I should go through ECT, which I did. For those not familiar with it, ECT shocks your brain into a seizure that lasts about 90 seconds. That was in August 2000, and I have absolutely no memory of the remaining four months of that year. ECT works wonders for some people. I wasn't one of them. Even though it's been a very long and arduous journey, thanks to the wonders of science I finally found a medication (Lamictal) that really helped, lessened the swings, brought the poles in, and has made life livable, though not without its swings of depression and mania. This coupled with my walking a way, slowly, from the Mormon faith was the beginning of my journey here.

In the past three weeks, since stumbling upon a Youtube debate with Christopher Hitchens, then watching and listening to a bunch more, happening upon Seth's site, listening to podcasts, and ultimately accepting that God is a complete fabrication, the clarity that has ensued has been amazing. If there is no God, then my disorder makes absolute perfect sense. Just part of evolution. Wires crossed somewhere. There simply isn't a reason for it. No "test" I'm being put through. No loving creator giving me challenges to make me more humble to come to Him so those challenges can be turned into strengths. No divinely instigated added capacity to relate to others in suffering. None of it. Just the measly animal I am. Science has made my life livable, and throwing God to the flames of superstition has landed me on the firmest ground I've ever been on.

I'm new to these forums and have quickly found out that you people here rawk (the English teacher in me is foaming at the mouth), if I do say so myself, so thanks for the posts and the thoughts and the ideas and the consideration and the acceptance without condition. It's a great place to be.
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31-10-2012, 11:18 PM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
Wrekenape: 3 weeks ago you were still some sort of a Mormon??? Holy shit dude. But you're so damn articulate. That's amazing!
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01-11-2012, 12:13 AM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
(31-10-2012 11:18 PM)morondog Wrote:  Wrekenape: 3 weeks ago you were still some sort of a Mormon??? Holy shit dude. But you're so damn articulate. That's amazing!

He said "Mormon", not "Moron", moron. Tongue

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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01-11-2012, 01:07 AM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
(31-10-2012 10:39 PM)wrenekape Wrote:  Love the thread.

My mental illness is what "saved" me. I was diagnosed Bipolar 20 years ago.

35 years ago now for me, and we didn't have the PC Bipolar shit then, it was manic depression, it's a frustrating mess.. Lithium was interesting, it's a good dampening agent. ... which makes it boring as all fuck.

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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01-11-2012, 01:09 AM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
(31-10-2012 11:18 PM)morondog Wrote:  Wrekenape: 3 weeks ago you were still some sort of a Mormon??? Holy shit dude. But you're so damn articulate. That's amazing!

You're too kind. Smile

Ttechnically I'm still Mormon, but my membership rescindment is in the process. My walking away from the church started a few years ago, but it was very, very slow. I was still attending meetings a few months ago. When I say "three weeks" I mean actually being able to say to myself "I am not a Mormon. I am an atheist." I guess up to that point I could have been considered "some sort of a Mormon." I hope you won't fault me on semantics. Big Grin
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01-11-2012, 01:27 AM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
(01-11-2012 01:07 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  35 years ago now for me, and we didn't have the PC Bipolar shit then, it was manic depression, it's a frustrating mess.. Lithium was interesting, it's a good dampening agent. ... which makes it boring as all fuck.

Actually GirlyMan, you are correct. The initial diagnosis for me was Manic Depression back in 1993. I retroactively attached the current name. It was changed soon after that, or maybe it had been changed prior and just hadn't received a lot of traffic. "Bipolar" might be considered politically correct, but considering the stigma that has and still is associated with mental illness, I think the change in name has helped assuage the initial reluctance of the general public to entertain any engagement or discussion of the topic, but that's just my opinion.
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01-11-2012, 01:41 AM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
I haven't had a chance to read through the thread yet but I just wanted to say that I have fought depression all my life.

I have faced a life of being abused physically and mentally, being neglected and being raped. My father wasn't there. My brother was ran over when he was 3. My mom doesn't tell me she loves me and criticizes me all my life. My step father was horrible.

Getting past it all was hard but it's possible. It's all about making the choice to focus on the positive things in life and not let the feelings overcome you. It's not always easy but it is a choice.

You can choose to be a victim or you can choose to be a survivor. The difference is one who dwells in it and the other who fights past it.

I choose to be a survivor.
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01-11-2012, 02:02 AM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
(01-11-2012 01:41 AM)kpax Wrote:  I haven't had a chance to read through the thread yet but I just wanted to say that I have fought depression all my life.

I have faced a life of being abused physically and mentally, being neglected and being raped. My father wasn't there. My brother was ran over when he was 3. My mom doesn't tell me she loves me and criticizes me all my life. My step father was horrible.

Getting past it all was hard but it's possible. It's all about making the choice to focus on the positive things in life and not let the feelings overcome you. It's not always easy but it is a choice.

You can choose to be a victim or you can choose to be a survivor. The difference is one who dwells in it and the other who fights past it.

I choose to be a survivor.

Hey kpax,

Wow, you've had a much rougher go than I have. I commend--and am envious of--your resilience. Not enough good can be said about someone who can pull themselves out of that kind of shit. The only slight exception I would take with your words is how "it's all about making a choice." For some of us there is a definite place where willpower ends and physiological issues begin. I am in no way saying that somebody's problems can automatically take precedence over anybody else's. I have great respect for people like you who can take the hand they've been dealt (evolutionary-wise, of course) and make it work, to "choose to be a survivor" as you put it. But I also think its important to recognize, scientifically, that there are biological issues at work for some of us.
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01-11-2012, 02:19 AM (This post was last modified: 01-11-2012 02:33 AM by kpax.)
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
Thank you for your kind words.

I actually have a physical condition that produces similar symptoms to mild bipolar. (I grew up Mormon, too)

Everyone has something in their past. People like me and you had shitty hands dealt to us. But the choice to distance from those things and live a different life are always there.

So for me it was a matter of divorcing from the past and creating a new future. We don't have to be controlled by the things that have happened to us. We don't have to keep living the same old story.

I don't mean to say "just get over it". What I mean to say is that each person can look to whatever works for them, whatever that may be, for the sake of their own sanity.

For you it was science. For me it was positive thinking. For someone else it could be something different. The point is just to find something, anything to help move on, move forward and not dwell. We only have this one life....

Reading through your posts here it seems you are well on your way to finding your own path.
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01-11-2012, 10:46 AM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
I'm another depression and anxiety sufferer.

I know the reasons for it. I have been living with my parents since birth, and both are what you would call 'emotionally abusive'. My father is irrational and aggressive, and gets angry over trivial things. He'll shout at me and my sisters, and blame us for things that make no sense. He only talks to me to either blame me for something, bitch about something, or tell me to do something. My mother isn't quite like that, but she has always been a bit 'aloof'. She doesn't really talk to me, she ignores my father's outbursts and abusive behaviour, and she also blames us every time something goes wrong or gets lost.

The worst problem of all is that I can't talk to them. They won't listen. They don't take me seriously, and it seems like they have selective amnesia and forget about their raging shortly afterwards, as though nothing ever happened.

I have always had anxiety issues, linked to my upbringing, and being isolated from others at school and thus being stuck at home all the time made my condition far more severe to the point where basic interactions become difficult for me. I can't land a job because if I use the phone, the other person thinks something is wrong with me just from my voice (and practice doesn't make it any better). If I go in person, it's not much better. I got as far as working for one day at a real job, before basically having a breakdown and having to quit.

My inability to leave my parent's house is the cause of the depression. I can't do what I want to do because I don't have the space or money for hobbies, and getting out seems out of reach.

I would like to try medications to decrease the severity of my symptoms so I can get a job and leave, but I do not have any support in this from my parents. They refuse to acknowledge my problems, and would scoff at the idea of medication, especially if they had to pay for it. I cannot afford the drugs, and even getting to a doctor is extremely difficult. So it seems mostly hopeless.

One of my sisters has graduated from uni for social work, and will eventually be able to land a well-paying job. My other sister might find something, but she can definitely make some money from art (and eventually her own small business hopefully). They seem to support the idea of us three moving out together (we all have similar mental health issues), so that is a possibility. But the thing is, I don't want to depend on someone else - living on someone else's money, even temporarily, is a source of anxiety in itself.

I don't live in the past - I'd like to forget it and move on - but when the source of problems from the past in still there it is extremely difficult. Moving away is definitely the most effective way to decrease my symptoms dramatically (I can tell this just by the change in feeling when I am outside on a walk). So I know the problems can be dealt with. Just getting out is the hard thing.

If something can be destroyed by the truth, it might be worth destroying.

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