Help me stop weeping
August 3, 2017 2:43 AM   Subscribe

I am in the middle of a depressive episode and I can't stop crying.

I am majorly depressed, there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I have no-one I feel that I can to talk to. I am in the UK and I can't get an appointment with my GP for almost 5 weeks. I cannot afford to pay privately.

I am filled with feelings of self-loathing. I can't stop obsessing about what terrible person I am and how everyone I know dislikes me. I can't stop it.

I have tried techniques like "pretend you're talking to a friend" but all I can think is "why would I be friends with me? No one else likes me". I have always been socially anxious but in the past few years I have almost entirely isolated myself. It is exhausting to pretend to be OK.

I have tried getting outside to exercise but I am so disgusted and self-conscious about my body I can hardly bear to leave the house. The other day I had to attend an appointment and I got so self-conscious that I began to cry as I was walking there.

I am so, so lonely. And I cannot. stop. crying. I have been crying for most of the day for a week. Any advice on how to get through this would be greatly appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
There's some resources on the MetaFilter wiki. There's also the Samaritans (you don't have to be suicidal to call them). You're not a terrible person.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:54 AM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really hope someone on your side of the world answers with some specific resources. I think external assistance is in order asap. With that being said...

These are things that help me sometimes: reading my posting history or fb timeline. Seems superficial but it reminds me that I have indeed been happy.

Run(or walk more briskly than is comfortable) hard. For a long time. I usually get to more clear thinking in about 40 minutes.

Sing loudly. It helps by making you aware of your breathing.

Do that weird exercise where you start at your toes and you contract and relax every muscle in your body sequentially.

None of these are guaranteed, but maybe they'll help till you can get to qualified help. Love and tight hugs if that's your jam from Japan.
posted by stormygrey at 2:57 AM on August 3, 2017

Where are you in the UK, roughly? We might be able to help with local services.

For example, I used to live in Hackney, and was given a crisis line to call if things got bad.
posted by greenish at 3:03 AM on August 3, 2017

Here is the NHS info on dealing with urgent mental health issues. I know GP appointments are crazy-hard to get but please try and get an emergency appointment - they are often available same- or next-day. Please don't think you're not worth it or it's not important enough for an emergency appointment. You are and it is.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:04 AM on August 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'm so sorry to hear you are going through this. It sounds to me like a bit of a medical emergency, and waiting five weeks for any help is not a good idea.

First, when you called your GP surgery, did you tell them you need an emergency appointment? I think you do need an emergency appointment, not an in-five-weeks appointment, and they should have some slots reserved for those. If they don't have any emergency appointments available today, ask them if there is an out of hours or walk-in service in your area where you can go. If they're unhelpful on that, you can also search by postcode for 'walk-in centre' on the NHS website here. Some walk-in centres have GPs as well as nurses, and they may be able to refer you to hospital if you need a psychiatrist. If you feel really like you cannot function, and are having any thoughts in the direction of self-harm, you can even go to A&E and see if they think you should be seen by a psychiatrist on an emergency basis.

If your local NHS options are unhelpful, check if Mind has a local centre close to you? They do face to face support and counselling, and you can also call their helpline on 0300 123 3393 or email them at I think you need some face to face care, now, so I don't think the helpline alone will be enough but, if none of the NHS options work, the Mind staff will be able to give you more informed advice than I can on your next step.
posted by Aravis76 at 3:08 AM on August 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

Also, in terms of just the short term stop-crying-so-I-can-call-the-GP question, my suggestion is:

1) drink some water
2) take three to five very slow deep breaths, counting inhalations and exhalations (i.e. breathing in is 1, breathing out is 2)
3) give yourself fifteen minutes of pure distraction time -- listen to four songs from an album you like, or read a page of a random book from your shelf (any topic, fiction or non-fiction, but nothing related to depression or self-help)

Then call someone and get help. This is a super short-term suggestion, if you feel like you need to calm down a little before seeking help. Do please seek help from someone ASAP, even if you calm down in a little while.
posted by Aravis76 at 3:17 AM on August 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

So you need an easy, concrete way to stop yourself from crying? Go and get a big glass full of water and drink it down every time you need to stop yourself.

So, that's one immediate rescue technique.

In terms of specific resources:
a) 5 weeks is fucking awful for a GP appointment. I'm so sorry.
b) I'm assuming you're in England. GP surgeries are answerable to CCGs* (Clinical Commissioning Groups), which mainly cover the same area as a council. Each CCG has a Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who will answer the phone and get you in contact with whatever services are available. Google CCG PALS to find your local one. They'll almost certainly answer the phone or an email straight away, and I'd be surprised if they couldn't find you someone to see within a week.
c) If you are actually likely to injure yourself imminently and severely, dial 999 and you'll be able to be taken to a place of safety. As far as I can tell (because I've had to debug their record keeping recently: I work for a mental health trust in IT), they're far nicer places to go to than A&E. Also, they're often on a different hospital site than the A&E, so going to A&E wouldn't make things any easier.

Good luck. It's horrible feeling like shit.

*as my GP mentioned when I got an emergency appointment last week because my mental health is in a huge mess, and she was commiserating (appropriately and sympathetically, despite the apparent power differential) with my feelings of instability.
posted by ambrosen at 3:31 AM on August 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

I've personally sat in an NHS walk in centre weeping so don't worry about doing that. Call the Samaritains too, and any friends that could come over or FaceTime. Take care.
posted by ellieBOA at 4:02 AM on August 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

As others have said, it's time to make it clear to professionals that your situation needs to be prioritized. What you're going through is dangerous, exhausting hell - don't minimize it or fantasize about where you might stand in relative neediness. I don't know if this will resonate with you but I once imagined looking down on myself from high above and thought, "that person needs my help".
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:03 AM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

This is a medical emergency and you need and deserve emergency medical care. I'm American, so I'm sorry, I can't help with the process.

You don't say if you are considering hurting yourself, but if you are, tell someone. Call the Samaritans. Call Mind, use their website.

Washing your face with cool water may help a little.

You are posting as anonymous, so I don't know *you,* but here you are, and people on this community website care about you. You deserve love, happiness, and a great life. I have experienced deep depression and uncontrollable weeping, and I have survived. You can, too. Things can change. I hope you will get some help and write to the moderators to let us know you're getting help.
posted by theora55 at 6:55 AM on August 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

Hi! I am so sorry you are going through this and hope that you do take advantage of some of the resources above. As triage on the meditation and exercise front, I really recommend the "Yoga for Healing" playlist from (Yoga with) Adriene. I know it's kind of stupid but it really feels like she gets it. The "Yoga for Depression", "Yoga for Loneliness" and "Yoga for Migranes" are particularly gentle.
posted by athirstforsalt at 6:56 AM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I agree that you warrant emergency assistance, and this is a triage trick I have found successful during some of my own crying jags:

Imagine you are an acquaintance of yourself - not close at all but you've met a couple times and the interactions were neutral to pleasant - and you are in the same room as yourself. What is your response to that crying person you have just found? Do those things. Get a glass of water, say sympathetic simple things, offer tissues, make tea, etc. Then say "one step at a time, right?" and brainstorm a bit to figure out the first action to take. Maybe that's calling the Samaritans or a loved one (who you know intellectually is closer to you than this imagined acquaintance, regardless of your current belief of how much they might care) or maybe it's taking a nap or maybe spending time just sitting outside or maybe a warm bath. Just the first step.

This is different than "pretend you're talking to a friend". Don't be your own friend, because right now your brain is doing its best to convince you that you don't have any, so that's a lot harder. Be your own acquaintance instead, because, in my experience, it is monumentally easier to take actions on behalf of other people. Have you ever found yourself unable to clean your own home, but totally happy to help wash up at another person's house? Or seen a stranger trip and drop their things all over the ground and you stoop to help them pick up whereas if you have tripped you would have just sat down and cried? It's like that.

What you're dealing with is so, so hard, and overwhelming. Please believe me and the other commenters here who are concerned for you and who hope you will access resources available to you. Please do contact the mods and have them update this thread with how you're doing in the future, we really mean it and much of our concern comes from a place of experience.
posted by Mizu at 7:31 AM on August 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

I would recommend reading Andrew Solomon's The Noonday Demon. I've never found Darkness Visible to be resonate, but I loved The Noonday Demon. Other books I'd recommend for right this minute: Getting It Done When You're Depressed and 50 Things to Do Before Seeing a Psychiatrist. I'm not against seeing a psychiatrist. I've been seeing a psychiatrist for more than ten years, I'm on three medications and I have had three rounds of ECT, so I'm not against treatment, but I still find the book helpful.

I would watch this TED talk on procrastination. Not for the part about procrastination, but for the part about the dark playground. When I'm depressed I spend a lot of time in the dark playground and it's not good for me. Hours on Facebook, Netflix, with this frozen feeling in my chest. Not good for me.

Another thing is I would remember is that most people feel awkward and weird. Very few people walk around thinking how awesome they are and how amazing the day is. It's just that you can't see it and we don't talk about it. And it's OK to cry in public. Crying is not shameful. Depression is not shameful.

If you literally can't see someone for five weeks (And I would challenge that. Hard.) then your quest becomes how do I get through the next five weeks with the most self care and the least damage to yourself. Make it a quest. Get the rubber band. Put it on your wrist and snap it when you think, "Who would want to be friends with me." Remember that hard feelings like loneliness are just feeling and you can feel them and survive. I have been married for more than 30 years, have great friends, a great daughter, an OK family and I still feel lonley when I'm depressed. It's part of the disease.

As much as you can get off your own back. Breathe. It's obviously awesome if you can meditate, but I could no more meditate when I'm depressed than I could fly a jet. Even things like yoga or walking are impossible. I'm just a frozen ball inside. But I can breathe.

I wish you the best.
posted by orsonet at 7:57 AM on August 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

This is not a replacement for anything mentioned above re: getting help, but sometimes a big sensory change can help to break the cycle and at least let you out of that kind of thing long enough to, say, eat, or get to sleep, or whatever. A hot shower, or a cold one, but if you can't get that, then just a hot or cold washcloth on the face. Ice water or a hot drink. Loud music or earplugs if your environment is normally kind of noisy. I think the "run hard until you're exhausted" thing also counts, or do something else physical that you can do until you just can't anymore.
posted by Sequence at 8:13 AM on August 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

Do yoga at home. Cry out what comes up.

Magnesium supplements. In the morning, 200mg of the amino acid L-Tyrosine, at night 100mg 5-HTP. Harder to get at a store, L-Theanine is the amino acid in tea that makes you feel calm! Bio-hackers have it with coffee or high caffeine tea for a boost. 5-HTP by itself is used to calm nerves. B vitamins are good anyway, but take them in the morning 30 min before eating alongside the L-Tyrosine. A little vitamin C. Or a good multivitamin is better than nothing if that's all you have access to right now.

A bath with Epsom Salts is also calming, because it's Magnesium.

You can also google herbs or teas that support the nervous system and adrenal glands, but stay away from anything that is sedative or narcotic like Valerian or Kava Kava.

L-Glutamine may also be your jam. Hope this helps.
posted by jbenben at 8:13 AM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hi there! I am sorry you are going through this, it's not your fault, and it gets better (trust me)
- CRY!! Cry all you need - it's exhausting, but it does get the sadness out. Don't feel pathetic for being sad, just let it all out! This is a temporary phase anyway (I have been through this, I seriously know that it's temporary)
- You are going through a medical crisis! You need healthcare, and you have to step up and take care of yourself and ask for it! Here are some resources: NHS111, mental health emergency services, Mind - try all three
- Can you go to a pet shelter and adopt a dog?? I really think that would make things better

Please memail me if you want to talk more! I have been there, friend, I think I can relate. Take care :)
posted by Crookshanks_Meow at 8:31 AM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

There is a lot of great feedback on this thread. I'm so sorry you are suffering through this. After struggling with similar issues, I was able to gain significant relief in less than a week by taking the supplements suggested in the Mood Cure.

I was already in therapy, and my go-to self-care was not working -- CBT, mindfulness meditation, exercise. It was my last ditch effort before going back on medication and it worked. I only needed to take the supplements for a month or two and I'm so glad I did. That was two years ago. Memail if it is something you are interested in and need advice. Hang in there, as many have already said -- this will get better!!
posted by cardamom at 9:23 AM on August 3, 2017

I have also been helped by Allie Brosh's depression cartoons - First, Second.
posted by theora55 at 12:37 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am so sorry you are going through this. I am in the U.S, so I can't help with resources. However, I wanted to post and say I have been where you are. I know how frustrating it feels. I work in a psych unit with people like you and I every day. There is a light at the end of that tunnel. It's hard to believe it when you can't see it, but I promise it is there.

Make sure you specify that you need an emergency appointment. Because you do need it. You are probably wait behind people who just need pill refills or minor med adjustments, and you need to be on top of that list.

Do you feel like you are safe? If at any time you don't feel safe, you definitely need to call an emergency line. Some providers ask if you can "contract for safety." What they are asking is if you can promise to not harm yourself until you can have an appointment set and attend. If you have any doubt that you can do that, you need to go to the hospital.

You can't do this alone, and you shouldn't have to. I have been a patient on a psych ward twice, because I knew I couldn't manage on my own. You may need that too.
posted by Fullofcrazy at 12:48 PM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Beyond getting help (some NHS Trusts even have virtual CBT sessions that are actually quite good. SilverCloud is a good one), I find that looking at motivation quotes are very helpful, especially when I am consumed by self loathing.

This one from tumblr has been one of my favourites lately:
My darling, you are allowed to fail without being a failure. You are allowed to make mistakes without becoming one. More opportunities will present themselves, you will find hope again.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.

The Universe loves you. Mostly. There is one galaxy, mpossibly far away, that thinks you are terrible.
Don’t fret. It’s an asshole galaxy. No one ever listens to it, and soon, it will be sucked into a black hole.

(and in case you ever watch ST:VOY)
“Believe in yourself as much as Captain Janeway believes she’ll get Voyager home”
posted by troytroy at 12:54 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sometimes when you're crying, you just really need to let it all out. If that's the case, I encourage you to do so. My experience has been that crying can be helpful. It doesn't always feel good when I do it, but sometimes I feel better when I'm done. I've been known to watch or read something sad just to get that relief.

I second/third/fourth etc. everyone's recommendation above to request an emergency appointment.

In the meantime, this website can be helpful if it's just really hard to do anything to help yourself.

If you can, please come back and update us in a few days.
posted by tuesdayschild at 2:13 PM on August 3, 2017

Poor sad friend! You're in the red zone. A lot of us have been there and so we know it exists. You're in there by yourself and all of us are out here in the world, wishing we could help, and there you are in some room alone, maybe still crying. It's absurd! But this problem isn't unfixable. Look around you. You're breathing, you can wiggle your fingers and toes. Maybe your thoughts are all scrambled up right now, but we are there for you and have some suggestions.

There are a couple of things that if you do today, you will feel better tomorrow. It's hard, but remember you're also physically capable of doing them. But it's ok if you're not emotionally capable too. Just know that when you eventually do these things, the next day will be easier and if you can't do them that's ok too.

1) Get one hour of exercise - just walking around counts. Tomorrow you'll feel a little warmer inside and less anxious. The hardest part is leaving the house, but once you're outside, you'll probably feel an overwhelming relief that you did it and maybe feel a little silly from having missed out on something nice. IF you feel scared to be outside, you can go back inside.

Agoraphobia is a horrible feeling and comes with a lot of shame. The crazy thing is how transient it can be. I've seen people unable to leave their bed one week and totally at ease in public the next. I'm sure you can think of periods in your life when you liked being outside, but it's ok if that isn't now.

2) Spend a couple of hours in a row in the company of a living thing that likes you. An animal or person. Once you have done this say three times in a row, you will feel much better than you feel now. I know, you're going to say that's the hard part, as you are currently alone. You can put a pin in that one for now, but I'm not lying when I say the fighting spirit will be more back in you once you do this. But it's ok if you can't.

3) Eat a square meal, take a shower, and then go to bed early, with a plan to do something pleasurable tomorrow. This one can also feel terrible to plan out and terrible to execute when you're not in the mood. Please do what you have to do to make this happen anyway. I like Mizu's suggestion of picturing an acquaintance nearby - you may be too depressed to eat, but I'm sure if someone hungry came over to your place right now, you could fix them a sandwich immediately. It's ok to daydream about such things as we go about our day. The imagination can be a powerful thing.

Maybe one or two of these things is out of reach. That's ok, just pick the one of them that sounds easiest and ry. AND remember you can call the Samaritans, AND I'm not a Samaritan but you should feel free to message me, and remember many decent people will read this thread and feel the same way.

You do need medical treatment though it sounds like, before 5 weeks are up. None of this is negating that. But the above can cushion the situation a little bit, so you're more comfortable.
posted by benadryl at 6:35 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

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