Brain freeze, dont know why, hopelessly dissapointing
February 9, 2011 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Help me with this brain feeze? No one visits me, I have no friend or I can get along with anyone socially great first few times. So I decided to let everything go. I cant ask help to anyone in person so this post. I do have a good job, good credit, somewhat healthy, good education {May be I never learned :) } Couple of days in a week I think as follows... I am living a life, lifestyle thats truly less than the true potential. Selling myselves less so called "plucking the low lying apple" Not stretching my comfort zone. Some people have said that may be I get depressed. The problem is I dont always try to change it. Instead I just think about all the chances I screwed up and all the people, relationships I have pissed off. Its like my brain freezes to come up with solution and want to just watch TV and eat pizza(comes later though). For few days I live a very lethargic , lazy life. Dishes lie unwashed, no laundry, no bath, no gym, exercise. I live alone, so need to be ashamed of someone might say something. I am 31 years old, live alone, never been in a relationship, no gf(as I piss off everyone in some way I cant understand). I do have a good job, good credit, somewhat healthy, good education {May be I never learned :) } Help me with this brain feeze?
posted by daveg02 to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Think about the strategy I suggest here.
posted by liketitanic at 2:32 PM on February 9, 2011

Put some structure in your non-working life. Set some goals, whatever they may be, and stick to them.

A suggestion to start would be to go to the gym. 3x per week, every week, after work. Plan everything else around your gym days. Don't go because you like the gym. Go because you need that structure. The benefits that come with it are just icing on the cake.

After that, think about getting a pet. Something you will need to feed every day. Nothing puts structure into your life like having someone depend on you.

Forget therapy. These are both things you can easily do if you truly want to change your current situation.
posted by eas98 at 2:44 PM on February 9, 2011

You seem to have a notion of "true potential". What does that mean to you? If your life was being lived to its fullest potential, what would it look like? Is it something you know is true about yourself, or are you going by what society says a fulfilled life looks like?

Maybe I'm just projecting, but yours seem like classic symptoms of depression. Have you considered talking to a therapist?
posted by phliar at 2:44 PM on February 9, 2011

If you're feeling down enough that you spend a lot of time dwelling on your "mistakes" or "failures" and it's interfering with you doing things you enjoy -- and you continue to feel this way despite trying to change it -- then give therapy a try.

Different therapists have different methods, so you may want to ask a therapist what their methods/goals are, and shop around to find a therapist you like. Therapy doesn't have to be all about "tell me about your childhood". It can be "let's work on practical strategies to get out of this rut you're in, and to help you figure out what you could do differently in your relationships/friendships". These practical things are obviously going to be better coming from someone who can see you in the real world, over a period of a few weeks or months.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:08 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Both the behaviors (leaving dishes unwashed, not bathing, not going outside) and the self-talk you describe ("you're not doing enough, you're only doing the easy things, you've got so much potential but you're just wasting it" — sound right?) sound very familiar to me. For me, those are all signs that my depression has the upper hand and I need to start taking concrete steps to deal with it, even though I don't want to.

Living with depression is like having an occupying army in your brain made up of sappers, saboteurs, and psyops experts. It wants to win, it wants you to lose, and it will do anything and everything in its power to make that happen. It will keep you immobile (because exercise helps fight depression), it will keep you from bathing (because "eww, you stink, nobody will want to be around you" — so you keep self-isolating, which makes the depression worse), it will keep you from cooking healthy meals (because eating good, nutritious meals helps fight depression, and because "you can't even feed yourself, you're such a loser") and will keep you from washing the dishes afterward (because "what a pathetic slob you are, you can't even do your own dishes").

If your financial and/or health insurance situation is such that you can get help such as therapy or antidepressants, that would be a very good thing to look into.

If you can't afford to consult a professional, something that might be helpful is the book The Depression Book: Depression as an Opportunity for Spiritual Growth by American Zen teacher Cheri Huber. I recommend her books a lot because they've made such a huge difference in my life (helping me move from being suicidally depressed to being mostly content and often downright happy). Another good book of hers is (Regardless of What You Were Taught to Believe) There is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate.
posted by Lexica at 3:12 PM on February 9, 2011 [12 favorites]

I have nothing to add but this – I have that tendency too, and the same despair.

Here's one thing I can think of: Helping others. Helping others creates magic in the soul, and sails start to unfurl.
posted by krilli at 3:45 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm in the midst of crawling out of depression that started when I was about 6 or 7. (I'm 26 now.) This is just what worked for me, so tweak as necessary depending on how your brain works:

#1: Realize that you need an outsider perspective. (For me, this wound up being going to a therapist and talking for an hour once a week and starting medication.) However, this doesn't have to be the first step. It look me a damn long time to be even comfortable enough to pick up the phone to make the call to schedule an appointment. So you don't have to do this right now, but just put it in the back of your mind to percolate.

#2: Add one thing at a time. You've got a job. Make it your task to be at your desk (or wherever) on time or even a little bit early and be there until the day is finished. (This may vary depending on your job requirements but for me it means that I get to work at 845-850 and leave work at 450-5.) That's it. Just focus on just one thing. It might not even be going to work on time, if that's something you're already doing (hooray! look at that!). Maybe it'll be something like make your bed when you get out of it. Doesn't matter what time you get out of it, make that bed as soon as you get up. Maybe it'll be to put your laundry in the hamper every day. Or to take a shower every other day.

#3: Add another thing. Once you've got your one thing going for a while (I like Joe's Goals for this sort of tracking thing but you might like just using a simple calendar better), see about if you can add something else. For me, I started with eating 1 piece of fruit a day. Just one piece of fruit. After a while (and watching the current chain number just grow bigger and bigger), I decided to add something else--doing my back stretches every day. You can decide how long you feel that you need to do something before it feels stable enough in your brain that it almost feels like autopilot in order to add something else. I typically like adding things every 100 days, but if you need longer--go for it. This is your list, no one elses.

#4: Look into things outside your comfort zone. Note that I didn't say *do* things outside your comfort zone. By this point in time, you'll probably have some behaviors set in your brain enough that they just run on autopilot. This might be a good idea to start looking into getting therapy/medication/some form of medicalized treatment. So take a look at things that might sound fun. Check the ads in your local paper, or Craigslist, or see what events might be online near you (like, which I've never had any success with). Now you still don't have to go to these events, but just see what's out there. Is there an interesting exhibit at a local museum? A film showing that you might like? Do you see an ad for something that you may have always wanted to do but weren't sure if you could*?

#5: Try one thing. Depending on if you've got social phobia issues (which I do), your methods for doing this might vary greatly. For me, I would usually have to drive to the place where a thing was but couldn't go in. Then I might park the car and walk to the thing and back. And then I might be able to go in, but not for very long (usually setting some sort of time limit like if I'm completely losing it after 5/10/15/30 minutes--I can bail). If your first thing doesn't work out, or you didn't like it, that's okay! There's plenty of other activities out there that are just waiting for you to notice them.

#6: Repeat steps 2-5.

* The way I determined this was if I looked at the ad or whatever and had a quick visualization of me doing said activity, that was something to put on the short list of interesting things to check out. You may have a different thing, like a feeling in your stomach or heart.

You can do this. You can get out of this. Everyone has a different recipe for their lives. Some people like lots of little chile peppers while others want more cheese and potatoes. You can decide how you want to live your life and however slowly it takes you to get out of the funk you're in now--that's just how you roll and isn't something that people should get pissy about.

For me, it's taken several years to go through all these steps, with only getting around to therapy/medication about 6-8 months ago. And I still have bad days where I can barely get out of bed. But I use things like constant to-do lists and Remember The Milk where I set up various recurring tasks (such as 'make the bed', 'wash dishes', 'take shower') so even if my brain just decides to completely shut down--there's a backup in place that I can just limp through. It's taken a long ass time but I'm finally getting some routines in place and the only thing that helps that is time. Time, and ticky boxes.

Feel free to memail me. I think at some point when I was telling the therapist that I was sleeping so much but just felt so pooped that he said fighting depression often takes more strength than staying in it because of inertia. The depression says 'no, that's going to be too hard' but you can fight back with 'I'm going to eat my piece of fruit and then I'll get back into bed'. And maybe after a few of those conversations, you'll add in 'I'll eat my piece of fruit and put dirty clothes into the hamper and then get back into bed'.

Super wee, baby steps. It's the only way to get out, and yeah, you may slip or falter along the way--but who doesn't? Good luck.
posted by sperose at 4:20 PM on February 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

It made a startling difference in my life when I suddenly realized that EVERYONE, even those others consider big successes, largely view their own lives as a long litany of failures, punctuated by a few lucky successes. But that is unfairly shorting yourself. It sounds counter-intuitive, but because of this bias, YOU are not necessarily the best judge of yourself. All the good things about you? *Those count*, and need to be weighed in the balance.

I have become much more forgiving of my failures and shortcomings since coming to grips with this.

- aj
posted by Alaska Jack at 4:53 PM on February 9, 2011

These are all classic signs of clinical depression. It is a disease which is treatable with medicine.

See a doctor, explain your symptoms, and they will be able to help you.

It's not your fault, anymore than a broken wrist or a strep throat is your fault. A doctor can help you. Please visit one ASAP.
posted by ErikaB at 7:04 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

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