Help me find hope that things will get better
December 28, 2013 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Things just keep getting worse and I don't know what to do. Please see extended explanation.

Help me find hope that things will get better.

I know that Metafilter is no substitute for medical attention, let me just state that right off the bat. I am addressing things with therapist/doctors and well (with not much success). I have read similar threads in the past.

I will try to make this as succinct as possible. I have been depressed/anxious/ocd for as long as I can remember (even before I was sophisticated enough to understand what it was). Both of my parents had some of these issues, so I don't know if there is a genetic predisposition or learned behavior aspect to it (is that even relevant?). I slogged along until around until about 5 years ago. I entered into a new relationship with a woman with a child leaving her husband. He was very abusive and this caused much stress. Around the same time my Father (who I worked with at the time) was diagnosed with Multiple Myloma cancer. I was so stressed that I saw a therapist for the fist time in my life. I was so anxious/ocd that they obviously recommend medication. I was very resistant. Out of sheer desperation I relented about 6 months later and started the meds. Throughout the next few years I was on Zoloft, Luvox, Prozac and Wellbutrin as well as other drugs (SSRIs, stimulants). I also saw numerous therapists. None of them could really help me. My Father died as well as my Uncle and another family friend. Finally when I was on 5 different drugs and the doctors just kept adding drugs ("you are tired, take this. It keeps you awake? Take this before bed.). I decided to get off. I wasn't any less depressed on them. I was so tired that I was falling asleep at stop lights. I was having other side effects and was worried about the long term effects of these drugs. That was about 1 year ago.

This year wasn't as bad as I thought it would be off of them. I was still suffering but not a wreck for the most part. I moved (which was very stressful) into an unfinished house during the summer, which is my busy season (I work in a stressful seasonal business). When work slowed down and I was settled at home, I looked forward to things finally slowing down, being settled and focusing on the future. I also spent the entire year getting expensive bloodwork done and seeing a ton of doctors to address health issues. The main thing was the fatigue which did improve once I got off the meds for a while. The Doctors would give me a suggestion and the next doctor would completely refute/contradict the previous doctor. I have spent thousands this year. I am still struggling to find a good doctor and a simple approach. Even the mental health professionals can't agree. I have ocd/adhd/ocpd/bipolar2/dystymia/gad. I have tried to correct the major deficiencies (d, b12, etc). I am trying to eat better and cut out as much alcohol , caffeine and junk as possible.

I am so overwhelmed and constantly working on stuff. I don't even know how to relax. I definitely do worse in the winter as far as depression.

A few months ago I started getting bad panic attacks/depressive episodes. I would get really nervous and couldn't breathe and that would freak me out even more. I would then start sobbing. I haven't cried in 15 years - even when my Father passed. This happened at least half a dozen times. I am now scared of going into that space and that fear itself causes problems. I tried to find a correlation when this happened. I think that they started around when I found out that my Brother met a girl that lives in South Carolina. My Brother lives with me and my mother in NY. He is my best friend and I count on him immeasurably. This coupled with the fact that my Mother is very sad about this just adds to the stress/sadness. Her husband is dead. Her brother is dead. She has no interest in seeing someone and doesn't have much of a social life. He is going down again soon. He doesn't know for sure, but I am convinced he will be moving down there permanently. All of my Family has either died or moved away.

I saw a psychiatrist about possibly going on meds again and he suggested Pristiq. I am very resistant to trying this given my past experience with these meds. This is an SNRI which I have not tried before. I have just heard such horror stories about these meds and don't trust these doctors/the medical community. They want to medicate everyone and don't understand these drugs. This doctor does genetic testing and other stuff so it seems like it is more rooted in reason than just "try this, try that". I am worried because of past side effects and long term effects. The other warnings make me nervous too - check blood pressure often and monitor liver. He suggested Pristiq before doing any further testing because it always ends up being suggested/tolerated well by the testing. Getting off meds was so difficult and made me sick (brain zaps, nausea, worsening depression). I am gun shy to start them again because as bad as I feel , I don't want to feel worse. I decided to start the Deplin and wait on the meds. I am not anti meds, but am arriving at this decision weighing the pros/cons.

Christmas Eve my Mother's friend died unexpectedly and we had to put our 15 year old cat down out of the blue the day after Christmas. I never imagined the extent that that would upset me. My Brother is leaving again today for South Carolina. I am surrounded by sadness and awfulness. Everyone is dying or leaving. I am so depressed and anxious that I want to die. I would never commit suicide so instead I suffer. I don't enjoy anything and just want to be asleep. I can't even enjoy sleep anymore because I have bad dreams and keep waking up and being anxious. My brain starts going and I can't get back to sleep.

I am still with my Girlfriend. Our relationship has been tested the last couple of years. I have been such a wreck coupled with my obsession with my health and all my problems that she has really pulled back. We have gotten to the point where I moved my stuff from her house and we just see each other on the weekends and I started staying with my Mother again. I used to stay with her during the week. She says that she still loves me (we have been engaged for years) but is confused about us. We haven't had sex in months. We don't have any spark or chemistry any more. We don't kiss often or show much affection. She has her own problems and is depressed too. We communicate well. I have suggested couples therapy but perhaps I need to heal first. I don't wanna push too hard. It used to be so effortless. I just don't know how to be around her right now. I want desperately to be able to come together and get through this stuff together, but I feel like she needs space and I make her anxious. It isn't just me though. She has issues too. I just don't know what to do. I have told her (badgered) repeatedly about not staying with me if she doesn't want me anymore. I don't want her to stay because it is easier/her relationship with my family/she feels sorry for me.

I am so exhausted. I am at the point where I feel that neither I nor things will ever get better. No one can seem to help me and I have been fighting and seeing drs for YEARS. There is nothing more depressing than not having hope. Everything and everyone around me is falling apart. I can't even help them because I can't help myself. I don't even know how to proceed with anything. I feel like I can't talk to my girlfriend or family about anything because it doesn't do anything other than agitate them. I can't even get on an even keel, let alone focus on my future - getting married, living with my girlfriend and living life. I hate my job and there are a million other things I want to do in my life but I can't conquer this.

posted by kbbbo to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You sound like you are in a state called "unrelenting crisis." This is a term used in the literature about borderline personality disorder, but I don't believe only people with BPD experience this. I have been where you are.

I have chronic depression and anxiety, and a lot of what you describe could be my story. I tried many different drugs and therapies for over a decade. The drugs barely helped or made things worse through side effects and discontinuation syndrome when I'd get too depressed to refill my prescriptions. I stopped taking them two years ago because I was sick of it.

Around that time, I had the insight (through observing a family member with similar issues) that my underlying problem was actually emotional dysregulation, which was causing my depression, suicidal feelings, and lots of anxiety including intrusive and obsessive thoughts. I just didn't know how to deal with life stressors (like death, school and job stuff, etc.), strong emotions that resulted, how to build and keep social supports, or how to take care of myself emotionally in general, and as a result, the stressors and emotional exhaustion and isolation and anxiety kept piling up. I tried to carry on and just keep going, but things got worse and worse until I basically couldn't function.

When I realized that emotional dysregulation was the root problem, I decided to do Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It has been the most effective therapy, with the most practical results, I have ever done in my many years of experimentation. One of the best parts of DBT for me, so far, is that I can call my therapist any time (literally any time...she's basically on call 24/7) and get phone coaching to help me through any crisis. Fight with a family member? She gives me steps to follow. Panicked and scared about something? She calms me down and gives me a plan to get through it. In other therapies I have done, it can be difficult to remember what crisis happened last week to talk about during a session. This solves that problem.

It is expensive and may require committing to a class (called a skills group) as well as weekly or biweekly individual sessions, but it is intended to prioritize your issues and deal with the most pressing concerns first (suicidal urges, panic attacks, self-destructive behaviours, the fear that if you start crying you will never stop...) and then help you learn to care for yourself better in general, and finally to build a life that has meaning and provides joy and social support to you. Especially if you feel isolated and like everyone around you is dying or leaving, this would be helpful.

DBT and related therapies like Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can also help you deal with OCD, panic attacks, chronic pain or other health issues. You can use this therapist finder to look for someone in your area, and you can filter by type of therapy. The Mindfulness Clinic is where I get my therapy.

This really can get better. The right kind of therapy can make all the difference.
posted by Ouisch at 12:15 PM on December 28, 2013 [12 favorites]

I'm so sorry you're going through all this. You have an awful lot to deal with.

A couple of ideas come to mind....

1. Therapy. Are you in therapy, or are you just seeing a psychiatrist for medication? If not, please consider it. If your psychiatrist does not offer therapy, see if he can refer you to a psychologist (or find one on the website--they have good listings).

2. If this doesn't trigger your OCD, make a health binder to stay organized. When my father in law was undergoing treatment for cancer, we had a big binder that kept all the records of his care so we could stay on top of everything. Not only was it convenient, there was a psychological benefit of having a physical repository of all information in one place. It somehow made it seem more manageable. Some ideas for your binder: Make a meds list: Include each medicine you tried, any benefit, any negative effect, when you took it, and why you stopped taking it. Keep a diary to track your symptoms--note how much you slept, if you ate well, if you exercised, alcohol, caffeine, meds, any notable stressors or triggers, and how you felt. Take the binder to all appointments, and take notes during the appointment.

3. Stick to one doctor and one psychiatrist (and one therapist, if the psychiatrist does not also fill this role). This will help keep you organized and ensure better continuity of care.

Good luck. I am sure others will have more advice for you.
posted by elizeh at 12:16 PM on December 28, 2013

Hi kbbbo,

I am very, very sorry to hear how much you have been struggling for so many years now. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I will relate a bit of my own story: it's taken me almost ten years to finally get a correct diagnosis for myself and I am still trying to find a medication combo that will work for me and not cause too many side effects. I have mild Aspergers' Syndrome with some ADD-inattentive-type aspects, MDD and GAD. It sucks and it takes a lot of time and concentrated effort to manage my issues in such a way that I can function.

I have had a lot of personal tragedies in my life, similar situation with a grieving parent (mom died after a chronic illness), feeling isolated, family mostly dead or too far away, etc. It's really hard and can be incredibly lonely. I tried to soldier on for years with just an anti-depressant and "chinning up," because I thought I was doomed to live this way and just...suffer. And yeah, guess what doesn't work? Some things are beyond our ability to understand or cope with, and there's no shame in needing the help of a licensed, educated, trained professional. I am finally beginning to make progress and get the help I've needed, but I had to commit to regular therapy first. You've got a tangled-together knot of problems that a skilled therapist can help you work through, but it takes time.

I couldn't tell from your question, but does your therapist know that you are essentially in crisis right now? Or are you not currently working with a therapist? I know MeFi is always about recommending therapy, but we do it for a reason. It WORKS. Sometimes you need to try a few therapists to find the find one. And then you need to stick with it, and more importantly, you need to let them help you. It will be hard, it will be ugly, it will hurt, it will make you miserable at times, but you really need to stick with it and try to work with them. If you care about yourself at all, you need to make a commitment to yourself that you will try new medications and stick with therapy, work on self-care, work on CBT skills, mindfulness work, etc. You deserve to feel so much better than how you do right now.

Health anxiety is something that a good therapist can help you work with, too. I totally understand where you are coming from about the side effects, but none of us are going to tell you, "Yeah, you can totally avoid the meds if you just try hard enough to think positive and not be so anxious." Eventually you will find the right combination of meds that will work for you. You need to work with a *good* psychiatrist who specializes in treating your particular conditions, and not be trying to get these meds from your GP with no additional support framework. You could always check with your closest research university to see if they have a clinic specializing in anxiety disorders if you feel that you prefer a more specialized or academic approach to managing your disorder.

If you have a place to stay right now and have health insurance that will cover it, and/or can access a program with a sliding-scale, you might want to look into a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program. It might be what you need right now, but that decision would be between you and your mental health professional(s). If you want to get some ideas about what a PH program is like, there a few threads here on the green that discuss it. I think your level of anxiety and depression sounds like it is at a critical mass, and the longer you put off getting effective treatment, the worse you will feel and the more you will alienate the people who love and care about you.

As a random person from the Internet who cares, please tell your therapist ASAP on Monday how frantic you are feeling. I have a tendency to self-protect and minimize, and guess what, that doesn't allow them to effectively help you! You need to tell them that you are having suicidal ideation, panic attacks, persistent anhedonia, dulled affect, that it is affecting your personal relationships, etc. If you are downplaying your symptoms, they can't help you if they don't know about it, y'know?

Lastly, if you haven't already, check into any agencies, groups, or centers in your area for grief support. You've been through a lot and not being able to acknowledge or express that, and not getting any support for it, might be driving a lot of your anxiety and depression, even the health anxiety.

(Let me also add, IANYT and TINMA.) If you want to send me a MeMail, I will be glad to talk further if you need some additional support over the weekend.

*hugs* Take care of yourself and don't be afraid to ask for help. It's okay. You can do this!
posted by cardinality at 12:18 PM on December 28, 2013

I thought of something else I wanted to add. Would your girlfriend or brother be willing to help you with some things, like just being there to call your therapist, help you perhaps organize some medical records, help you look for a grief support group, etc? Sometimes when you're stuck in the web of misery and anxiety like you are now, it's really hard to just focus on what the next step could be.

Just having someone to help you take the first step might relieve some of the pressure you feel right now to fix everything all at once.
posted by cardinality at 12:29 PM on December 28, 2013

Help me find hope that things will get better.

You asked this question. So it says to me that you have hope inside yourself, enough to recognise that there is a better place you know you can get to, eventually. That shows the strength to want to change and that is powerful if you can use it. Even simply to know the desire is there should make you feel empowered that you can get through things. The details you mention are exhausting to even read about, so I can't imagine what it must be like to live it. Kudos for just even keeping your head above water. Tell yourself it, you are fighting!

Focus on the desire that made you write this question. The will to work to something better. Focus on yourself, help yourself first and find someone to talk to, if that is your mother, brother, or girlfriend... don't carry it all alone, set it down with someone who will listen. Lastly I wanted to add that things will get better I'm sure, even though that sounds hollow now. At some point you'll turn a corner, it is inevitable. Best of luck with things.

My answer is more about spirit than medical things, sorry if it comes across as glib or overly simplistic, That isn't how I intend it.
posted by 0 answers at 12:31 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hi kbbbo,

ditto what ouisch says about 'unrelenting crisis.' Another way to phrase this is how your brain can get stuck in a loop that says disaster is right around the corner, and this circuit becomes a self-perpetuating circuit between your brain and your body. It can seem as if your mood and your thoughts support this conclusion and your filter on your reality also seems to reflect this.
Rather than write out a long post, if you MeMail me I'll send you my prescription for myself that addresses the spirit, mind and body. I think that is a useful metaphor for the different areas that need support.
Mindfulness - spirit, cognitive behavior therapy - mind, diet/nutrition + exercise - body...that's an example of some of the items in my formula for me. The problem is how to get leverage on these areas of your life in a positive way and not beat yourself up with an negative emotion stick while you are in the process of changing to a more successful mode. I have a list of stuff I do for myself to keep out of the darkness of despair and stay if not happy, then content and productive most of the time. Glad to share that with you if it would be useful.
Personally, I look for leverage and tools I can utilize now. I feel therapists and doctors come with a bias towards creating dependency. However, I don't have the range of stuff on my plate that you do. By all means reach out for support from qualified people and take anything you get from the Internet with a grain of sale.
posted by diode at 12:44 PM on December 28, 2013

kbbbo, I'm 67 and as I read your story I'm reminded of two specific times in my life when it was a fact, not just my overreaction, that things all around me were collapsing at record speed and I was just spinning around trying to figure out how to stay upright and carry on, which wasn't working at all.

Each time there were a whole string of deaths, close together, of people and animals I loved, an overwhelming awareness of how helpless I was to do anything to stop this terrible trend of loss, and no reason to expect it to change in the future; in fact, I couldn't help but nearly choke on fear that something would happen to the ones I cared about who were still left.

The first time it happened I was in my early 20s and had a lot of family support (meaning others were also suffering the same loss and so we could help each other deal with it), but the second time it happened, that wasn't the case. I was the only one affected by these deaths and cancer diagnoses and psychological brutality directed at me in a nonstop, one-on-one manner by my mother, whom I had been caring for for six months after her near death from neglect and a gangrenous bowel. To top it all off, the expense of caring for her in Arizona meant I couldn't cover my own expenses in Washington State where I live, and I came home to bankruptcy and the loss of my mobile home and nearly everything in it. Then the IRS decided I owed them $5,000 for capital gains on the old house I'd sold to buy the mobile home. Oh - and I had been diagnosed just two years earlier with Parkinson's Disease and was still trying to adjust to that (and levodopa). I was 48 and completely lost and overwhelmed. And then, finally, suicidal - for the first time in my life.

I put myself in the hospital psych unit because it was that or jump off a bridge. It was the best thing I ever did for me. I was so SAFE there - not even the IRS could touch me! And if anyone else died, I wasn't even told about it. It honestly only took maybe a week of that safe feeling - the feeling of not facing everything alone - that brought my head up into the clear air again. They did put me on medicine, which I needed, though it took several changes before we found the SSRI that worked, but they also didn't let me just pile everything together and bury myself in it - they made me pick it apart and deal with each thing indivicually. And they taught me how to make that work. I came out of there totally unashamed to have been a patient in a psych unit - just ever so grateful for the way they helped me when I was convinced that no one could.

Your problems are real and they'd overwhelm anyone. I'm sorry to say so, but unless you're way stronger than I am, I doubt that you can get your sea legs under you by yourself - you do need to be on medicine that will keep you from emotional chaos and you need someone who will not just paddle along with you but will actually step up to the plate and show you how to handle this damn mess.

Please get help - I'd seriously recommend inpatient treatment, but if your Mom relies on you such that you can't really do that, then go to the hospital and talk to them about getting into an intensive outpatient program. And know this - all this terrible stuff will eventually burn itself out and things will get back to normal - the kind of normal where death happens to those we love, but one at a time, here and there. Yeah. Good luck to you.
posted by aryma at 6:18 PM on December 28, 2013 [5 favorites]

I know MeFi is always about recommending therapy, but we do it for a reason. It WORKS

I'm happy it worked for you, but can we please, please stop asserting that therapy works for everyone. That's incredibly hurtful for people (like me and, I suspect, the OP) who have done therapy and done therapy and done therapy and not been helped by it. The most generous statistics for therapy show that it is effective for about 80% of people, which is great unless you are in the 20% it does not help. I've had multiple therapists tell me, after working with me for a long time and it was obvious to both of us that it was not helping, that while they are willing to keep trying, they do not feel further therapy would be helpful, that it would, in fact, be unethical not to inform me of this.

If you've never had a good rapport with a therapist and given it a fair shake, obviously it is worth trying, but for god's sake, therapy does not always work any more than treatment for heart disease always works, even if you do all the "right" things.

Kbbo, all I can say is, the fact that treatment hasn't worked so far isn't your fault, and don't ever let anyone try to convince you it is.
When All Else Fails, Blaming the Patient Often Comes Next

Consider possibly treatment-resistant depression or complicated grief. While you're at it, google Richard Friedman, M.D.; he's written a lot about psychiatry failing patients.

One thing that strikes me about your post is that you do legitimately have a lot to be sad about. Everyone is different, but antidepressants seem easier to understand when depression is purely biochemical, as when someone says "everything in my life is going great, I have no idea why I feel so down."
posted by Violet Hour at 12:19 AM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'm sorry you are having such a rough time of it. I've been there as well and tried much therapy and meds without any improvement either. I don't know if something like this would help you but I did a 12-step program for dysfunctional families (ACA adult children of alcoholics which isn't just for people from alcoholic homes as I am not) and for the first time I found some help and hope. So, some sort of support group or 12-step group is something you may want to consider. DBT might be good as was suggested. I really liked the simplicity of 12-step programs and being with others and hearing their stories made a big difference in knowing I was not alone. Many people had years of recovery and it was so encouraging to hear them share. Just being around others on their journey to find hope really helped me to not feel so alone.

Another thing you may want to also consider is keeping a gratitude journal. This is just a list of 3 things each day that you are grateful for and they can be as small as the wonderful aroma of your morning coffee to as big as a promotion. How this helps is it gets you out of focusing on everything going wrong in life. It creates a shift in your thinking and now you are paying attention to what is going right and starting to focus on that and even looking for it. I admit I'm not very consistent with doing it yet but as someone who can get sucked into the negativity of life easily it does help when I do it.

Actually, I think the fact that you are crying lately is good. You have to grieve your losses and get that sadness out of you. Joining a bereavement group is another option. I find journaling helps a lot as well.

I don't know if anything I've suggested will help you but those are all things that did work for me when therapy and meds didn't. I do hope you find something that does help. Sometimes life is just about throwing the spaghetti against the wall until it finally sticks. May you find your spaghetti!
posted by wildflower at 4:24 AM on December 29, 2013

Thank you everyone.

I just wanted to state ; since it has been mentioned in numerous responses; that I have been seeing therapists for years. Most tell me they can't help me anymore. The ones that don't tell me don't help either.

I seem to have treatment resistant issues.

I am seeing a new therapist next week , so I am going to keep trying.

Thank you Violet Hour's. Your post is something that I have expressed to numerous people in my personal life. Thank you for understanding.

Again, thank you everyone!!!
posted by kbbbo at 8:35 AM on December 29, 2013

From an anonymous Mefite:
I think there's value in acknowledging that life isn't fair and you've been dealt not just one but multiple bad hands, your life is legitimately tougher than many other people's (even while acknowledging that everyone's worse day is their worse day), and it's legitimate for you to be pissed, angry, sad, and depressed; to struggle with things that others seem to have handily in control; and to consider every single option.

It sounds like you might be thinking about suicide. I hope you have access to some emergency help, here is a good place to start. Metafilter Wiki: There is Help

For me, I find that leaving open the option of suicide can actually be helpful. My mom used to say, "suicide is always an option." (She died much too young but of natural causes). The meaning for me is that no matter how terrible things get, I am never really stuck, there is always a way out.

The other helpful thing I get from it is that since I have that fallback there, I feel both liberated and obligated to try out every single other crazy thing that could possibly 'work' before I fall back on that option, which will still be there after I've checked myself into a hospital, maxed out my credit cards to go on a world tour looking for something to live for, left behind everything and everyone I love to start all over again somewhere else doing something I never would have thought of, etc. These are all things that I have not tried yet, but whenever I start to think about suicide (even/especially in that escapist way where it's actually a comfort), I remind myself that these are things I will try, maybe try them all, before taking serious steps to kill myself - which is always an option.

One thing that sometimes helps me through is reminding myself that the existence of the light at the end of the tunnel and my ability to see the light have nothing to do with each other. It could well be there all along, or be in a form I can't even imagine, and I will never know either way unless I hang around to see how things turn out (but only for as long as I want to, because suicide is always an option).

For me I've found that the right combination of drugs, therapy, and life circumstances (i.e. employment) helps keep the (false) urgency of suicide at bay.

I know that so much of these are outside your control (the right drugs, *if* they exist? the right therapist, if you can afford them? a decent job - who the hell can count on getting one of those). If it helps, give yourself permission to try anything that is in your control (because if being at the end of your rope isn't the time to try, then when is?)

For me, I've found that the supplements SamE (though only the brand sold at Trader Joe's so far) and inositol do a lot of good for generally reducing the apparent intensity/urgency of bad feelings. They are both kind of expensive, but you don't need a prescription or a psychiatrist, if those things are out of your reach now. Vitamin D is cheap, in case there's a seasonal element aggravating things.

One more thing I tell myself is that even though at many times in my life it seems to me that anything that depends on luck turns out badly, it is actually possible for luck to turn out well as badly, and all the heads in my past don't mean anything for the possible future tails if I can just keep going.

I really really hope you get some luckier hands soon!
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:44 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

For me, relief only came when I went on a COMBINATION of meds. Celexa to minimize the intensity of anxiety, and all other emotions - it kind of squishes all your feelings into a mid-range of intensity so you can handle them better, and Wellbutrin on top of that.

The circumstantial things - like the deaths and other heavy things you're carrying- may need to be dealt with by taking some time off to rest and process it all. Sleep is our best healer, and second-best is talking to people who are patient and willing to listen for a long time.

Mostly, I think in times of crisis, we need to find MEANING. We have to find a way to put the events together in some way that makes sense and doesn't mean that everything is just rubbish. For me, sometimes, I try to imagine - just what if it all is meant for good? If I knew that with 100% certainty, how would I interpret the things that were happening? Usually, I can find deep inspiration through this exercise, and the result is that the tragedies of life really become meaningful through the good they inspire....

Just rambling now, but I wish you the best. I hope you find physical support through medicine and sleep, and that you find something personally meaningful and inspirational in the middle of the darkness.
posted by SarahBellum at 8:43 PM on December 29, 2013

I have nothing to add to the therapy/medication recommendations, but I strongly suggest getting another cat if you are capable of taking care of it. Not a dog: that's too much work right now. Perhaps an adult cat with a mellow personality who will cuddle on your lap, or perhaps a playful kitten who does silly things and makes you laugh. When I'm at my worst, my pets' unconditional love always makes me feel better.
posted by desjardins at 8:13 AM on December 30, 2013

I'm really proud of you for getting on here and writing everything out. It's fantastic that you reached out. You have so much weight on your shoulders right now, and it's impressive that you're still doing your best. I really can't stress that enough-- this is wonderful, that you put this up here and that you're still working so hard to take care of yourself.

I don't have much advice to give -- there's some great stuff here already -- but I wanted to say that I think there's hope. Just you posting this is a good sign, to me.

On a more help-oriented note, I eventually had the most success with Lamictal/Lamotrigine. It worked for me where SSRIs did not. I'm bipolar, though, so nailing down a diagnosis really helped me to figure that out.
posted by wingsandfins at 9:27 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

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