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How do you get out of a funk?
June 13, 2014 10:23 AM   Subscribe

I'm in a funk. I (logically) know that I have a good life, but I'm really depressed right now and I can't seem to be able to bounce back. I have eliminated all distractions from my life, and that means that I have more time to be depressed. The only thing that provides me real joy is food, and so not only I'm getting fatter, but I'm getting more depressed because of that too. I just sit around and eat all day (which is not good!). I need to get out of this funk, please help.

I have a high-paying job in my chosen career, with nice coworkers, a nice manager, lots of flexibility, opportunities to learn, and in my field. It's not my exact dream job, but if I work hard and learn, it will open many doors that will lead me to my dream job. I have a really supportive, loving SO that puts up with me and my funk and loves me so much. I have a nice car, a nice place to live, in an area that I love. I'm healthy. I have a hobby that I do 4 times a week, with a group of people, who I like and like me too. I have friends that I see fairly regularly. I'm in my 20s.

I feel like shit all the time.

Yes, I am seeing a therapist.

I am very hard on myself, I don't see any of my successes, I expect more from myself. I want that dream job that I don't quite have, but I'm too depressed to work hard at my current job (that could lead me there). I feel guilt about many things and decisions that I made in the past that got me to this point (of success, but not SUPER AWESOME DREAM SUCCESS). Yes I am doing well, but I still don't really FEEL that way. I have discussed this with my therapist a lot, we work on approaches to be kinder to myself, but it's just not been helping. I'm too scared to push myself to succeed in anything. I feel like I'm wasting my potential, which makes things worse, because then I feel even worse and more paralyzed.

I find things to obsess about to help distract me from how shitty I feel. For example, for a while I was having car problems so I spent hours researching cars and dreaming about the ideal car and craigslisting cars for days on end until I ended up buying a new awesome car. Then I had nothing to obsess about, so I found something else. Most of the time at the end I go back to always obsessing about my job. I keep searching for jobs and obsessing over companies and spending hours on the internet looking for that "dream job" and seeing how much I would make and then I research the location and start looking at apartments there and furniture and obsess about and think of how my life would be if I only had that job.

Well, I honestly think it would be the same as my life now - nothing would magically change. I would still feel like shit. All the opportunities are in front of me right now, I have all the things that I want, but I'm still unhappy.

So I put a temporary ban for myself on searching for these things on the internet and obsessing and all of a sudden I have hours with nothing to do. So I sit and play dumb video games and eat shitty food and don't move from the couch in the living room. I'm wasting my free time getting fat and not doing anything. I can't even get up to do a load of laundry that's sitting there in the basket waiting for me.

I just need to get out of this funk so I can enjoy my life right now, and stop worrying so much about everything all the time. All the things I want I have (despite my brain claiming otherwise). I have way more financial security than all of my friends at the moment, if they heard me complain they would probably stop speaking to me. With time and dedication to my current job I know I can get better at my job and move on up. But the funk is there and it's really debilitating.

I think cardio would help, but I'm too funked out to do anything about that. I can't get excited about anything, not even my motorcycle which I LOVE or the prospect of taking my SO on a beach vacation. I'm ambivalent about EVERYTHING. I'm meaner to my SO. I don't care about things I'm usually extremely passionate about. I thought it was the winter, but it's summer now, and low and behold, it's just getting worse. And I usually love summer.

So, hive mind, what would you do to get yourself out of a funk in this situation? Besides starting cardio (which I don't even hate that much, I just can't seem to move off of the freaking couch), and maybe going on meds (which my therapist did bring up once and then didn't again - maybe they're waiting for me to bring it up again, I don't know), what else could I do? How do I get the passion for life and living back, for exercise and being active (and not just sitting on that dumb couch all day). How did you convince yourself to start exercising when you felt like this?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
oh boy. been here. meds, asap. you don't have to be on them forever. I only needed to be on them for a couple of months before I started feeling good enough to exercise again, and MAN the exercise took it from there.

so yes, ask your therapist next time you see him/her to give you a concrete plan for a short-term medical solution. keep going to therapy, and see how you feel. if the first pill you take works for you, you'll probably start feeling better within the month. if you don't, ask about switching to something that's more effective. rinse and repeat as necessary. I PROMISE this process will help.

as soon as you feel good enough, start working out regularly and don't stop. like, ever. it's crazy how much it improves your mood and keeps it improved.

good luck and feel better soon!!
posted by dynamiiiite at 10:30 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Ugh, I'm so sorry this is happening to you! I was going to suggest talking again with your doctor/therapist about medication. It sounds like you're in a great life place right now but your brain chemicals are just derpy. It might take a while to find the right drug(s) but I think it's definitely worth doing. I've been on them when I've been in dark places and my SO is on them currently.

Best of luck!
posted by ancient star at 10:31 AM on June 13


Antidepressant medication.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:31 AM on June 13


Can you think of any "hacks" to get yourself to do cardio? Everyone's motivation works differently, but something like: making a "gym date" with someone, or doing sessions with a trainer, or joining a gym with a hot tub and only using it after you do cardio, or watching netflix on an ipad/listening to an audiobook or podcast while using cardio machines.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:35 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I'm in a funk too, and I could've written this question. I recently started seeing a life coach for some practical ways to keep moving and stop stagnating. The first recommendation is to start building positive habits for myself. What he's asked me to do is set one day/time a week that's for exercising. No excuses or plans can interfere, that's my time for that activity.

I'm also doing the same for a new skill/hobby that involve being social.

Maybe you could join a fitocracy group and start motivating that way? Feel free to memail me if you want to talk more as my situation feels very similar to yours.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:35 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Get thee to a doctor, anonymous, if you have one. I'm not talking only about medication, which maybe you need and maybe you don't; a doctor might be able to help you tweak something to give you more energy. (I'm thinking, for example, specific foods you can add to your diet or checking your thyroid for an imbalance or getting you on a dose of antidepressants.)

Also, when you can face it, maybe think about whether your therapist is helping you, generally. The answer might be yes or it might be that you need to look for someone else.

Otherwise, I'm sorry you're experiencing this. It sucks. Take care of yourself in the best way that you can.
posted by platitudipus at 10:38 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


We've fallen under this idea that we need to feel 'happy' all the time and that's totally unrealistic. What's more, because we don't feel happy 24/7 leads us to believe that there's something wrong and actually creates unhappiness out of thin air.

True happiness (winning a game, accomplishing a goal) is fleeting and is not something that can be sustained. Rather we should strive for and accept 'contentedness' on a day to day basis. You'll probably see this as sort of a neutral emotional state, but it's the default state of humans and there's nothing wrong with that.

(Eating isn't bringing you 'joy', btw. It's nothing more than temporary pleasure and, like all other types of pleasure, needs to be self-controlled or it will quickly lead to dissatisfaction. If you moderate your eating, you'll find it will begin to bring you pleasure again.)
posted by Setec Astronomy at 10:39 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


I find things to obsess about to help distract me from how shitty I feel... I spent hours researching cars... then I had nothing to obsess about, so I found something else.

This may be terrible advice, but I've found it to help, personally. You are someone who wants to solve problems. You want to make things happen. It's essential to the program in your brain that makes you who you are. Maybe the solution isn't to get rid of these desires, but to find something big and truly worth obsessing over.

Maybe you're not "distracting" yourself with these obsessions. Maybe your problem is that so much of your life is so good, you're left with nothing to fix or strive for, so you end up throwing the full weight of your formidable problem-solving drive towards dumb little household issues that are entirely unsatisfying. Don't try to numb this part of yourself. Find something huge, difficult, and worthy and put your natural inclinations to their highest use.

Most people need something to want, to strive for, to struggle against, in order to be happy. If you don't find a battle to fight out in the world, you're going to turn on yourself and create a battle inside.
posted by the jam at 10:40 AM on June 13 [30 favorites]


One of the really insidious things about depression is that it often isn't caused by anything. It's really easy to get into that cycle of "oh, I have it pretty good, I shouldn't be depressed but I am!" But depression doesn't work that way. It doesn't care about your life circumstances. Things could get better - you could get that dream job, new car, etc - and you might get some temporary relief, but the depression will still lurk.

So yeah, the first step is to think about trying an antidepressant. Hard to emphasize how helpful these can be.

Exercise is also just immensely helpful. Some meds first might help you get the motivation to get off the couch. Then once you get into the habit, you'll wonder how you lived without it. Find something you enjoy doing a bit - swimming, yoga, cycling, running whatever, and try to stick with it. Not only does exercise boost good feeling neurotransmitters in your brain, it does a hell of a job pulling you into the present. Makes you be here now, which is in the end the real antidote to the sort of existential sadness you're feeling.

Lower your expectations. The dream job you think will make you happy will only make you want a different dream job. In fact, all of the material things you think will make you happy actually won't. Because life isn't actually all about being happy. Sometimes it's about just being, and that's okay. People tend to have a baseline level of happiness they return to no matter what happens to them. In fact, studies have shown that any major life event, good or bad, will only sway your baseline happiness one way or another for about 3 months. So learn to be okay with what your baseline is, and keep trudging along.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:42 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Everyone loves to run to drugs in these situations and I disagree - they have their place, but I don't see it as a first-line of defense. Fix your sleep, your eating, your exercise, turn off the computer, have more sex, and so on - then and only then should you consider drugs.

A cough suppressant doesn't fix what's making you cough, it only temporarily stops you from coughing - you'll still be sick.
posted by Setec Astronomy at 10:43 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Medication. When you're depressed and know what you need to do to be happier, but you can't do it, then that's the perfect time for medications, because they can help give you the ability to go out and do the things you know you should be doing (and therefore take away the cycle of self-loathing that can come from knowing what you should do but being unable to do it). Once you get the other good habits in place, you can talk to your doctor about going off the medication again, if you want.
posted by jaguar at 10:51 AM on June 13


I really like the suggestion to find something worthwhile to pour your problem-solving obsessiveness into. That's a good general life-hack for this kind of personality, I've used it to good result.

That said, really honestly? Meds. I resisted them and struggled by managing myself on exercise/mindfulness/self-help-hacks for like 20 years, until I exhausted all my resources, and I have just started on some medication and I already feel like a normal person for the first time consistently in years. I will still use my mindfulness etc and exercise but it makes it so, so much easier truly. It's like trying to get around on crutches with one leg vs getting a prosthetic.
posted by celtalitha at 10:53 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I'm someone who has chosen, in the last few years, to deal with my recurrent depression sans drugs. (Whether this is wise or not, I left my therapists to argue about; however, I am currently doing, and have been doing, quite well.) BUT. I would say that antidepressants helped me kickstart the healthy changes and coping mechanisms that I've been relying on since I tapered off of the drugs. Before that I could not, at all, get off the couch. With zoloft I could get off the couch and do the other things, even though for some time I got little or no satisfaction out of them. It helped me be on auto-pilot, basically, and eventually a more authentic satisfaction did kick in. So that's a thing.

However I'm not sure you're depressed so much as you're super duper bored. Like waaaaaay bored. Like, I got bored just reading your post. There's no surprise, spontaneity, or challenge in your life. You have no defined goals, you have no urgency, and moreover, you have nothing to fill the vacuum left by these things.

You have the luxury of introducing controlled difficulty to your life--most people find themselves at the mercy of external difficulty (which is itself tremendously depressing). So I say you gotta make your life a little hard. Not stupid hard, not "dump your SO, quit your job, move to the DRC" hard. Just a little challenging, at the level of taking up a sport at which you kind of suck, or starting a hobby with a bitch of a learning curve. Take some vacations that aren't beach vacations--take a vacation that is HARD, where you have to LEARN and SOLVE and THINK. Foreign countries. Wilderness.

But it may be that your boredom has spiraled enough into actual depression that you can't get around to any of these steps without a little help, and that's where an antidepressant might come into play.
posted by like_a_friend at 11:01 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


> I just can't seem to move off of the freaking couch

Take a walk.

For me, vigorous cardio helps me get out of my head, but when I'm feeling really stuck, I load up a podcast & go for a brisk walk. Sometimes when it's really bad, I'll walk 6 miles. When I get home, I'm already kind of warmed up and not feeling trapped in the house, so a little laundry & taking out the trash is a do-able small accomplishment.
posted by morganw at 11:09 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Hi, you sound a lot like me. Like you, I have a great job, I live in my dream city, I have a loving partner, I am relatively healthy and my needs are taken care of. Yet my natural state is still one where I am constantly in a funk, constantly doubting and second-guessing myself, and constantly worrying that the sky is about to fall down on me.

Medication (specifically Celexa but YMMV) helped me a LOT. Like, life-changing levels. You should talk with your primary care physician about this ASAP. You could also as your therapist if they have psychiatrist recommendations for the long run, as a psychiatrist will have more knowledge about adjusting your dose and trying different meds if the first one doesn't work well for you.

Personally, I don't find exercise to be the mood-booster that most people claim it to be, but I do exercise a shit ton anyway (like 2 hours a day, every goddamned day). The nice thing about exercise for people like us is:
1. All that food you are eating will have less of an effect on your weight, if any effect at all
2. It's a good way to spend time that you would otherwise use getting upset overthinking/over-researching things. I pick exercise that is so challenging that I can't really think about anything other than what I'm doing.
posted by joan_holloway at 11:10 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


At your next therapy appointment, bring up the subject of meds again and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist. Antidepressants can unflatten your feelings and get the ball rolling on all the other stuff. If you're trying therapy and getting stuck, if you just don't find yourself appreciating things that you otherwise would, if you're having trouble mustering up the motivation for the things you want or need to do, if the voice of reason in your head says "well, the way out of this is obviously XYZ" and your brain just stares blankly and shrugs - those are all signs that medication can help.

In the meantime, break down all the things you feel you "should" do into small, manageable chunks. For example, if you can't bring yourself to work out, go for a walk. If you can't bring yourself to go for a walk, go outside and stand on the porch for five minutes. These things can be as small as taking a shower or putting on pants or eating an apple, depending on your current level of motivation - anything that's simple and not overwhelming, but still makes you feel like you're taking care of yourself. Aim for a bare minimum of one of these small accomplishments once a day. The more of them you do, the more momentum you gain, and the more you can take on.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:13 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


lots of great advice above. for me, I've been struggling with depression as long as I can remember. what is truly helping me now is a combination tea of valerian root, marshmallow root, st John's wort, and gingko. it's the only thing that has shown me a considerable change in my mood. good luck
posted by lunastellasol at 11:26 AM on June 13


just a reminder that antidepressants do have a gazillion side effects
posted by serena15221 at 11:27 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Others have covered medication and exercise, so I'll poke around a bit about other possibilities.

Food may be making you feel temporarily better but if you're eating a lot of carbs/sugar this could be contributing to how bad you feel.

Is your work perhaps too flexible, allowing you to waste time? Are you wasting time at work or just your home time? Is there something you really don't like about your current job that you won't allow yourself to admit because it's well-paying and everyone is nice to you? It sounds most plainly like you have major perfectionism/anxiety issues and are having performance/fear of failure issues related to that, hence the paralysis and distractions. I think there must be some part of you telling yourself that you will fail if you try and that failing is worse than not trying. What things specifically are you avoiding/not trying/afraid to try?

I can relate to your behaviour/feelings, it's good you're in therapy, and I think practicing kindness to yourself is a great skill to keep working on. Some would argue to beat the funk you need to fully sink into it and accept it for it to change (a Buddhist perspective), but I also understand that if you're clinically depressed this could be dangerous, so please take that with a big grain of salt. This idea that you'll be "happy when" is part of the human condition and something that you'll grapple with over and over again. Work on accepting that you will feel this way sometimes, that this process is not ruining your chances of future further success, that you are not bad for feeling this way, that feeling this way is perhaps inevitable to some extent, and is teaching you something important (like that attaining material success and luxuries do not make you happy).
posted by lafemma at 11:34 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Physical health and mental health are inextricably linked. Bettering your mental health is complicated, but bettering your physical health is not -- eating well and exercising are always the solutions.

As far as eating well, perhaps you could take up cooking? It would both give you a small problem to solve and improve your diet. Cooking for yourself always beats eating "shitty [I read that as: processed] food," and your SO will probably enjoy it too.

As for exercising, there's a billion types that you can choose from. Cardio: walking, biking, swimming, running, rowing, jumping rope, boxing, skiing, skating, etc. There's also team sports: basketball, frisbee, baseball, flag football, kickball, etc. Or you could mix it up and do some outdoorsy things, like hiking, rock climbing, surfing, water skiing, etc. There's got to be _something_ here that you are willing and able to do (and will enjoy doing, hopefully).

Beyond that, going off what another commenter said viz. your need for problem-solving, perhaps consider attacking a problem that is somewhat intractable (but certainly needs addressing nonetheless). Most social issues fall into this category.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 12:05 PM on June 13


Things that help that are not medication: Good nutrition, esp. Vitamin D. Sunshine and being outdoors in nature. Exercise. Music. Gratitude - remind yourself of what's good in your life. But going back on medication is what's working for me.
posted by theora55 at 12:07 PM on June 13


Lots of great answers as usual. Just wanted to recommend a book.

Thru AskMeFi some time ago, I found this: The Happiness Trap

And the reason I recommend it to you, is that you say that practicing being kinder to yourself with your therapist isn't helping. This I understand.

For me, that kind of approach only helped in certain areas The real gritty, darkest voices in me never responded, those that had been causing regular and deep ruts and funks and slumps and blues and whatnot my whole life (til the past few months, happy to say).

That part did, and continues to, respond to ACT and the approach in that book. Maybe it would help you too! Good luck.
posted by Pieprz at 12:09 PM on June 13


Also, chamomile tea, meditation, and practicing gratitude. yoga and step aerobics are great too. remember to celebrate little success and noticing and appreciating your positive moods more than your negative moods.
posted by lunastellasol at 1:21 PM on June 13


I've found that being on a ketogenic diet (very low carb, moderate protein, high fat) has helped me: resolve emotional eating/boredom eating issues, lose a significant amount of weight, and has radically reduced anxiety and depression issues. And, while it's done all those things without me exercising (I'm recovering from an injury), I feel more motivated to be active because I have way more energy now. I don't spend lots of time on Reddit in general, but the /r/keto boards there have been an invaluable resource, especially the FAQ and "keto in a nutshell" overviews.
posted by quince at 1:51 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


You can't do cardio, but can you sign up for a yoga class and drag yourself there by the start time? What about going somewhere beautiful, like a meadow with a path running through it or a beach? Can you drag your funk out onto your front stoop instead of funking it on the couch? If you banned video games the way you banned obsessing, your boredom would force you to do something.
posted by slidell at 2:29 PM on June 13


Meds. They give you enough energy to successfully work on the larger structural issues.
posted by zug at 3:14 PM on June 13


Bro I am there now. My prayers are with you and I watch this thread with interest.
posted by brownrd at 4:13 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


drugs stat. reason being if this is chemically based depression you can go on a drug regimen for a while and then never have to take them again but if you don't treat this now it could get worse.

If you'd rather not, then fish oil. Sunlight, lots of it. And exercise.

One other thing....how is your spiritual health? I'll leave it at that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:18 PM on June 13


You mentioned very little about your SO, which makes me wonder if your relationship is a contributing factor.
posted by Dansaman at 7:51 PM on June 13


You're getting some good answers and there's little I can add. As for your obsession with eating, I wonder if you might think not only of cooking but also of providing food for other people. Which is close to my second thought, that you might find a completely altruistic challenge for yourself. A thing you can provide or create on an ongoing basis for someone else who has need of it and something you can contribute without any benefit to yourself except for the giving of it to another. I think we all need a goal outside of ourselves, something a little bit difficult that we have to think about and that we do or give because we can, even anonymously, just to see someone else benefit from it. It changes your own view of yourself and makes life more meaningful. I think, once you use all the good advice above to get off the couch, it might be worth a try.
posted by Anitanola at 10:34 PM on June 13


The part about your awesome car struck me because when I was 29 and making lots of money, working a great-paying job I bought an outrageously expensive red sports car I had had always wanted -- and I cried all the way driving it home because I realized the car like everything else for show in my life (job, apartment, social life, etc.) was so meaningless. All the snazzy things in my life didn't make me happy. I was miserable. I think everyone here has posted a lot of helpful advice here. The only thing I'd add, taking in my history with this kind of depression, is to work with a therapist on being content with yourself with all your achievements (job, SO, great car, lots of friends, fab vacations etc) taken out of the equation. I know this sounds trite. But this is hard for many of us. We're brought up to the drill of strive, achieve, acquire! And this has a twofold purpose. The good one being to keep us out of the gutter, but the not-so-good one is to keep ourselves blinded from the ever-nagging questions of who am I really? Why am I here? Am I really worth anything? etc. These spiritual questions haunt all of us. We often spend our twenties and thirties achieving and acquiring and then hit this wall of fuck me I've done and purchased all this and I'm not happy? This is when we're forced to find where our true happiness comes from, which is a quiet force within us that often gets neglected in pursuit of all the big shiny objects outside of us. This may not be so much a brain chemistry issue as it is an inner life adjustment in process. You may be realizing that all the trophies of a successful life don't bring happiness and the funk you're in may be your inner self struggling to come to terms with this. My therapist really helped me with this. Overall, I think you're half-way there. Get meds if they'll help you get off the couch, become more active and help uncap that stream of happiness within. And continue on striving and achieving your goals, but as you seem to already know happiness won't come from the results. Hopefully, you'll soon find it in the day to day process of living.
posted by SA456 at 11:44 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


One of the things that have helped me in a similar position has been applying myself to a long running, seemingly impossible task that takes you out of your comfort zone, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Running a Marathon, enrolling for a graduate degree, taking up a competitive activity of some description that challenges you to the utmost degree is something that's worked for me in giving me shape and purpose and resisting apathy and self pity when I've needed it, while also setting my other worries or problems in context, replacing the ruminative
issues that use up your emotional bandwidth with more immediate, solvable problems.

Its not always been the most pleasant experience but being constantly challenged to give 110% means that there is always something on my plate, while having less time to do things means that I often need to get things done means I go for the practical solution rather than ruminate on perfection.

I also find having that mix of aspiration, challenge, setbacks, successes and ultimate achievement has been really good for me in complimenting the other things going on in my life, so that I can always balance my achievements and expectations of myself without falling into the trap of arrogance, but also despondency too.

This technique has also driven me to do things that I'd never have achieved otherwise and can look back on with a great deal of satisfaction that I can use to bolster myself and my self image in lean times ahead, making troubles to come that much more achievable too.

Its no replacement for other good things, including medication, therapy etc but I find it helps me give my life meaning and purpose and staves of the negative empty feeling that I might otherwise struggle with knowing I'm always learning, doing and getting better.
posted by Middlemarch at 2:03 AM on June 14


Power yoga. Try to make yourself go at least every other day for 2 weeks. Reassess your funk after this experiment.
posted by sickinthehead at 5:30 AM on June 14


I'm really sorry that you're going through this. There's already a ton of good advice here, especially with doing things incrementally like guided mindfulness meditation, keeping a gratitude journal...and maybe joining health month (there's even a MeFi team)?

There are harsh winters here where I live and the thing that helped me with exercise was doing one thing...it's the hardest, and that's starting off somewhere. I started with walking and at first I absolutely hated it because I had my earbuds in the whole time, playing some really depressing music over and over, but I one day they broke, and before I got a new pair, I realized I was missing out on the sounds and the whole atmosphere of the chill around me, the piercing cold on the lungs, the crunching sound of the snow, the muffled sound of the streetcars going by. I started checking in more with the reality (not always easy) and didn't try as much to steer clear of the feelings that bothered me (for me it was a sinking feeling of failure). I can't go a day or two without walking at least an hour and it's one of the things I look forward to most. Maybe you will find a similar activity. The tip is not to beat yourself up about it if you miss a few days. It's an incremental process in which you have all your present moments left in your life to practice and cultivate.

Good luck to you!
posted by wallawallasweet at 12:54 PM on June 14


You sound like me before Prozac. The worst thing about being depressed is the conviction that you have no legitimate reason to feel what you feel. The "my life is good, why do I feel like shit, there's no reason I should feel like this, lots of people have it worse than I do, why can't I just be happy" language of your question is familiar to me. What helped me is accepting that depression is a physical illness like any other. It has little to do with your life circumstances and lots to do with your neurotransmitters.

I jokingly refer to Prozac as "vitamin P". It has changed my life. Am I a ray of sunshine? No, that's just not my personality. I'm not miserable anymore, though, and I have perspective about my life now. I remember the moment when I realized it was working and I actually wanted to live. It was seriously like flipping a switch - suddenly, I didn't totally hate everything about myself and my life. I just cared less intensely about everything, which was what I needed.

I was scared to ask my doctor about antidepressants, but it turns out that TONS of people use them and it's not a big deal. I'd recommend trying different medications until one works. You'll know when you find the right one.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 11:05 PM on June 14


I was in a similar funk for most of the first half of this year - also whilst in a great relationship, holding down a really good job, etc. It was also the longest stretch I'd gone without antidepressants as an adult. I spent a lot of time convincing myself that I needed to think and worry my way out of the funk - obsessing about how I didn't have the energy/inclination to make plans or formulate actions that would FIX MY WHOLE LIFE (because the whole damn thing felt broken), obsessing about the fact that I didn't have enough money to go to therapy and that everything would suck forever because I'd always be too poor to talk about all the stuff that was wrong with me, plus living life with the anxiety dial turned to max in all circumstances.

And then I saw my GP and tentatively agreed to try a different SSRI. And, fuck, it's like someone turned the anxiety dial way down and the energy dial way up. I actually give a shit about stuff now. My career - which I'd convinced myself was already floundering and going to die altogether because I just did not have the energy to engage with it - is going really well. As is everything else.

Basically I came here with anecdata and to nth everyone else who has suggested giving antidepressants a shot. They can sometimes be the difference between thinking everything is wrong with you as a person and (after you find one that works) realising that the main thing that was wrong was your stuck perspective and anxiety.
posted by terretu at 5:35 AM on June 16


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