Feeling Overwhelmed
June 6, 2019 3:18 PM   Subscribe

MeFites, I need help. I spent the other day home from work because of a mental breakdown. I've had a series of mental breakdowns over the past few years and I need help figuring out what to do.

I can't push myself anymore. I feel like every day I'm dragging myself across the ocean floor with 2-ton cement weights chained to my ankles, and I feel like I have been doing this for the last 13 years.

For the sake of the character limit I'm linking to some context so that you can get a better understanding of where I'm coming from, and maybe so that someone can better give me some advice.

Writing that whole saga out, it feels surreal. I can't believe all of this has been my life. The last few months, dealing with catty roommates and other issues that I have suggested in my previous questions, have not been easy, either. I cashed out my (small) retirement savings to pay for a functional medicine practitioner, who has run several tests and finally I have the answer to the swelling issue (electrolyte and mineral imbalance from adrenal fatigue), but of course I don't know why I have a brain lesion. The lesion has not changed in size for the last year, which I guess is good news, but the doctors don't want to biopsy it because it's the brain stem. They even said they wanted me on "as little medication as possible." So I worry about it constantly.

I still have the crawling sensations, twitching, and stabbing pains, though at a much more tolerable level in that I can go to work and not dread sleeping. My job is okay. It isn't stressful. I like my coworkers.

But I have moved every year for the last 13 years. My sleep is never restful. I have no family at all, no one I could call for help, no support system if anything else in my life goes wrong. I have only $3k in savings. I pay $1400 a month in rent and only make $40k a year in a desperate effort to reduce people-induced stress, and this is the cheapest there is. I spend a lot of days crying because I can barely afford supplements. Because of the location of the lesion, I feel like I could be walking around with cancer and not even know it, like I won't know until it's too late. I feel like I'm teetering on an unseen edge. I keep feeling like I need to do something drastic to change my life, because even though things are "better", I'm scared and miserable. I don't know what to do. I feel like I shouldn't even be complaining but I'm finding it difficult even going to work because I just want to do nothing.

It's not a nothing like "I don't find joy in my hobbies", I still do. I have things I genuinely look forward to. But every attempt to make my life better feels too fucking hard. It feels too hard to do a strict paleo diet for the sake of my health, to cook and figure out what to eat and what I can't because my adrenals are apparently burnt out and my potassium is too low and what time to go to bed and to remember to put on blue-light blocking glasses 2 hours before bed, and to budget because I only have enough to survive. It feels too hard to try to learn about graphic design in the hopes I can use the skill to free myself from my life and make money doing something I like. It feels to hard to start breathing exercises. To learn how to drive. To make plans. It feels like too much to drag myself to sit at a job 40 hours a week, to continue to walk 4 miles roundtrip each day in an effort to exrcise.

It definitely feels too hard to try to find a therapist, as they have mocked me before, ignored my desire to not take meds (I have had an intuitive feeling for many years that they would be bad for me, but saying so has earned me nothing but condescension), and been extremely difficult to relate to. The prospect of having to dredge up all of *this* with multiple people over who knows how long in the hopes of finding the person who *might* get it, and also be able to pay for all of those attempts, and also be able to go to work the next day (because every time I have gone to therapy I feel unable to function for the next few days)—all of this is honest to goodness impossible. After all of my negative experiences, I just do not believe I will find embarking on this venture healthy...and even in saying this, I feel like I can hear half the world screaming at me about how wrong I must be.

Everything feels like too much. I just want a break.

I just want a year of rest where I don't have to do anything at all. Just one year. I don't remember what a vacation is like. Even when I take days off I'm always having to get something done to manage my life. The bootstraps I'm supposed to pull myself up by snapped many years ago and I'm dragging myself by the tatters. I feel like my body keeps telling me to rest but I can't because I have to do everything myself. I have to manage everything. Everything. And on some level I understand that this is what it means to be an adult, but I have been doing everything for so long that I don't want to do it anymore. Not for awhile, anyway. I feel alone and scared and trapped and overwhelmed. I don't know how to trust anyone after so much gaslighting and so many of my even small requests being treated like garbage. I want to hide in a cabin in the forest in the woods where no one can find me and just cry and sleep. If I could figure out a way to throw my entire life in the garbage just to have this, I would.

While I was before a maltheist, I no longer pray or even believe in a god anymore because it's been a 13 year onslaught of things not getting better. People have been telling me for many years that it would get better, but after living my life, and after watching my too-kind mother rot and die with no one there for her, I have learned that it does not, in fact, get better for everyone. Every day my life reminds me that I'm a sentient, insignificant speck of dust on an unforgiving planet in an indifferent universe.

I'm looking for some advice, something to give me hope, something I hadn't considered or hadn't tried before. I need resources and guidance.

If you clicked this and decided to read through it all, thank you.
posted by adelaide to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Mod note: n.b. I talked with the asker about reworking an earlier draft of this a little and am bringing it back up now. Thanks for working with me on that, adelaide.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:23 PM on June 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I’m so very sorry you’re going through this, and for so long! (I haven’t read the linked post, FYI, so I apologize if this suggestion isn’t helpful.)

I wish I had a way to give you your year of doing nothing. Or fixing your health issues. Or your money woes. I’m so sorry I can’t.

I know you don’t want to go back to therapy, so I won’t suggest that. But if you haven’t tried already, you might find some help with texting the Crisis Text Line (741-741). They’re not therapists. They’re not going to recommend medications. They’ll listen. They’ll validate. And if you ask for resources, they’ll try to provide them. I know that talking things through isn’t the same as a getting a solution, but sometimes someone telling you that you’re not crazy to feel the way you feel can be helpful, too.

And for what it’s worth, I feel extreme comfort that I don’t believe in a god. If I had to somehow figure out a way to believe in a benevolent god in this world we live in? I’d break apart in anger. Some days the only thing that gets me through is believing that all of this is just shitty luck, not some divine plan. Because if this is a divine plan, the project manager should be fired.
posted by greermahoney at 6:47 PM on June 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

Gosh, Adelaide, my heart goes out to you. Sadly, the only way out is through. What I'm about to suggest may sound strange, and maybe doesn't address this question, but I remember your last few questions and they all fit together, so...

1) I think you should move to Rochester MN, which hits all of your location criteria (though I have no idea what it's like for POC living there). The housing market there would permit you to live alone at your current $1400/month rent, presuming you can find work that brings in $40k again, which I think will be doable.

2) Apply for treatment at the Mayo Clinic, which will be much less disruptive to your life/new job since you'll be living nearby. You really need to get a handle on your health issues: the brain lession, the physical sensations, the swollen legs, etc. You also need to grapple with your own set of fears about medicine and drugs given what you (and your mother) have suffered. The Mayo approach features collaboration among multiple specialists so you can get an integrated set of recommendations and stop bouncing around between different health care providers, receiving conflicting advice about supplements and possibly being preyed upon by uncaring physicians or quacks.

3) Launch a concerted effort to make friends in your new city. In all your posts you don't mention any but they will give you laughter and fun. For what it's worth, if you lived near me you sound like someone from whom I would welcome an overture of friendship.

4) Get a pet. You sound like you could use some unconditional love and would benefit from taking care of and being responsible for another sentient being, especially when depression hits hard. You already walk enough to exercise a dog and they're a great way to meet people, but if you're a cat person, they provide great joy too.

5) Consider jobs/fields where you can help others. You come across as attuned to people, empathetic, and seeking to find your larger purpose, and I think you have a lot to give.

Take care.
posted by carmicha at 8:01 PM on June 6, 2019 [21 favorites]

To step back for a moment, being extremely stressed is incidental to being poor. It doesn't mean you're weak or lazy or crazy. It means that a lot of your brain power is eaten up hour to hour by managing living on an inadequate income. There have been actual studies on the cognitive burden of poverty. So please stop blaming yourself. You are doing your best. It's obvious even to this total Internet stranger.

I think you need someone to talk to, some friendly face to look forward to, to remind you that life is not merely counting out a little space between oblivions (it is that, but that's not the only way you have to experience it). I don't know if you live somewhere where you might go to meetups, or any kind of social activity related to your interests and the things you enjoy. I think those could be nice, low-stakes ways to talk to people and get out of your own head a little. Volunteering is also an option for this. Something you can go to, say, once a week at the same time and probably see many of the same people. You may meet people you like, you will feel like you are doing something valuable on this planet. I don't know if a pet is out of your financial reach. A dog or cat could be very comforting to you.

Finally, I hesitate to say this, because I don't want to seem to be dismissing your physical symptoms--I'm not. I believe in them. But because your treatment actually seems to be causing you distress rather than relieving it, I'm going to say it. Functional medicine is basically an unproven crock. Forcing yourself onto paleo isn't going to address your problems. Spending your precious limited cash on supplements isn't going to address your problems. Those supposed imbalances probably aren't real. A brain lesion is generally a finding, not a diagnosis; it is criminal for these doctors to find such a thing (if they really did) and not try to determine what condition is prompting it. To the extent you are torturing yourself over what they're telling you and your inability to "live up to" their recommended treatment, which you really seem to be, you are taking on a huge additional burden that you shouldn't be. I understand hesitation to speak to a therapist, but please don't spend any more money on these people, and get proper care. You deserve it.
posted by praemunire at 8:24 PM on June 6, 2019 [34 favorites]

I'm so sorry, it sounds like you are struggling. I know I'd want someone to tell me something that would completely change things, provide relief or help me feel validated. I don't know if I can do that. I do know from what you've written that you've managed to make it this far. You sound like an amazing person who is kind and sensitive and making good choices.

Please be proud of yourself. Despite everything you've outlined, you're not falling apart, but continuing in the face of adversity. And that takes guts and herculean levels of effort. Especially when you are all alone. Nothing that you are doing is easy right now. Many, many people would not be able to continue as you have. You are landing on your feet. You're doing it. Just keep doing it. Keep going. One day the adversity will dissipate. But by then you will be so strong nothing will ever knock you down.

Sometimes when I am completely overwhelmed I give myself these breaks. I carve out random points in my day where, whether anyone realizes it or not, everything stops for a few minutes. I use an alarm on my phone as my prompt. And when the alarm sounds I stop everything. You can just stop and breathe and know that you are giving yourself this moment to do NOTHING. And know that this is more important than anything. That you are more important than whatever is currently going on. And just make it a habit. Honor it. Get up and hide in the bathroom if you have to. But take these breaks. And do NOTHING. Just breathe.

I use this devise to recollect myself. Or reclaim my time. Or make my well being the priority. It's mostly to remind myself that the stress of whatever is going on is the anomaly. The 'nothing break' is the thing I'm choosing or creating for myself. It's space and time and totally within my control. Someone could actually be screaming at me, but if my phone dings, then, I don't care what they are screaming, I'm on a 'nothing break'. I'm still 'there', and no one's the wiser. But I know where I am. And it's not in a room where someone is screaming at me anymore (or gossiping loudly around me, or piling work on me, or whatever it may be). And I get to keep my sanity for another hour. And everything gets put back in proper perspective. Quickly.
posted by marimeko at 8:50 PM on June 6, 2019 [10 favorites]

There so much that I don’t have the wherewithal to help with, but I just have to speak to this:

I have had an intuitive feeling for many years that they [meds] would be bad for me

Please give this a very serious rethink. I don’t want to discount your very real problems, but it seems very obvious that one of them is that you have mental health problems and yet you’re refusing to even consider taking medication that could significantly help. Your intuition cannot possibly know the different ways in which you might respond to the plethora of mental health medications available to you to try. It won’t solve all your problems but oh my God it will make them so much less of a challenge to deal with if you aren’t overwhelmed and sobbing at every available moment. The same goes for therapy, but people resisting mental health medication they very obviously need is a personal bugbear of mine. There are so many to try. They don’t all have side effects for everyone (or if they do, they’re much easier to cope with than the original illness). It is not a moral failing to take them.

I would also point out that a classic symptom of depression is the conviction that it’ll never go away, it’s just the way you are, it’s all hopeless, treatment won’t work for you etc. I’d posit that your intuition that has stopped you trying them is in fact just a manifestation of this symptom of depression, not an objective truth about your own ability to thrive on mental health medication, which you can only know if you try.

Best of luck you you, I’m sorry things are so awful - love and compassion from an Internet stranger.
posted by penguin pie at 1:16 AM on June 7, 2019 [27 favorites]

Just to add: More specifically, that feeling that doing the things you need to do is just too much? Putting on glasses, going to work, taking a walk, all just too hard? That’s depression right there, in a nutshell, and you don’t have to feel like that. Medication is not a magic wand for all that ails you, but it can make all those things feel doable instead of insurmountable obstacles.
posted by penguin pie at 2:40 AM on June 7, 2019 [6 favorites]

I can't speak to everything here, but IMO intuition pulls from your knowledge and experiences. It's valuable but it's not always right. The thing about medicine is that if you start taking something and feel it's doing more harm than good, you can stop taking it (working with your doctor). It helps enough people that it's probably worth a try.

And to second previous comments, friends are important - they are your chosen family. That said making friends can be a lot of work, especially when you're struggling with mental health. But if you have opportunities to spend time with other humans in a pleasant, low-stress way, go for it.

Good luck to you, I'm sorry things are so rough and I'm hope you find a way forward.
posted by bunderful at 4:26 AM on June 7, 2019

I'd like to add to the suggestion that you need to get to the bottom of the brain lesion. It could very well be the source of the physical symptoms you describe: the leg swelling, the needing to pee all the time, the twitching and stabbing pains, the fatigue.

On the subject of meds, I refused to take them for years and years, until last fall when things got so bad that I thought I'd have to take a medical leave from my job. I'm now taking Wellbutrin, and it has changed my life for the better. I am very happy I stopped listening to all my 'reasons' for not taking meds.
posted by girlpublisher at 4:43 AM on June 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

You are worthy of being supported, and it takes so much courage and strength to keep on sharing, and trying to better things, when your brain just wants everything to be quiet for a while. Check your memail. Sending you love and light.
posted by seemoorglass at 5:14 AM on June 7, 2019

How much vacation time, if any, do you have available at your job right now? I would take it, even if you don't have money to go anywhere. One thing that might help is petsitting or housesitting so that you can get some time away from your roommates. I have done this locally by going on Nextdoor and posting that I would be willing to petsit for free (in exchange for staying at someone's house, which most people really appreciate because they want their pets to be well taken care of). Obviously, only do this if you really love animals. I recommend taking care of cats, which are lower maintenance than dogs. Memail me if you want more information on petsitting. Ideally, you'll find a place nearby that you can stay for a week or two, maybe even a house with a garden that you can spend time in, a bathtub you can soak in, and a friendly cat to sit on your lap. If you can take time off work while you're doing this, make a list of what you really need to do vs what would be nice to do, and schedule when you're going to do errands and when you're going to consciously take time to relax even if your to-do list isn't complete.

Have you been screened for MS? I assume your doctors would have tested for that if it made sense, but it does sound a little like your symptoms (I'm definitely not a doctor).
posted by pinochiette at 5:27 AM on June 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for commenting. Just to clarify some things:

I AM also working with regular doctors. I have a kind primary care physician who listens, am being monitored by the co-director of malignant brain tumors at the hospital I go to, I've had a spinal tap that confirms I don't have MS, and have had bloodwork that has ruled out other things. Unfortunately, I have been told that the only way to determine if I have cancer is to do a biopsy, to which the neurologist/director and two different primary care doctors have expressed extreme hesitation because of a high risk of paralysis. The director also doesn't believe that the lesion is the cause of any of my symptoms.

So I'm on a wait and see policy. So this is why I have added in going the route of trying to up my nutrition, because it at least makes me feel like I'm doing something. I'm not working with quacks anymore, but...it was a very expensive lesson.

pinochiette--I live alone now, and have only 2 days of vacation.

Everyone else--I don't have the money for a pet or to move across the city again, let alone across the country (and certainly not the energy), alas, or I would.
About the meds...we will see. I am not sure. But the director also said he wants me on as few drugs as possible right now.
posted by adelaide at 6:49 AM on June 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Was the director aware of your profound depression when he said that? Did he explicitly rule out you taking antidepressants? If not, go and have that conversation, without sugar-coating your mental state (maybe show him this question).

Depression can be a fatal condition and you say you’ve already had multiple breakdowns. There is always a balance to be struck between different risks. If he says no, fine, but he may not, and that will likely be a significant help in giving you the spoons to cope with life.

As it stands, you’re facing a slew of different problems but essentially choosing to do it with all your limbs tied behind your back, based on an intuitive hunch that is very likely a symptom of the very condition it’s keeping you from treating.

Sorry to be so blunt, it just seems clear that listening to that intuition is not working for you. You deserve better, and this feeling that you’ve labelled intuition is working against you, not helping you.
posted by penguin pie at 7:31 AM on June 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Will you have the 5th of July off (a Friday)? If not, I would ask to take that and the 8th, giving you five days off with the holiday. You deserve a break.
posted by pinochiette at 7:41 AM on June 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Could you afford to take some intermittent FMLA leave? You are likely entitled to up to 6 weeks of unpaid leave, and you don't have to take it all at once.

In general, it sounds like you just need to be as kind to yourself right now as you can. I think you understand that none of this is your fault, the universe dealt you a shitty hand, and you are long overdue for a break.

But it sounds like you are still pushing yourself to do All The Things, and beating yourself up because you're struggling. I think your actions show amazing resilience, but also reveal a fear of losing control. Considering your history of trauma, this fear makes a lot of sense, but right now it's no longer serving you.

So maybe you skip that walk next week and take the bus. Maybe you figure out if you can swing a month of a paleo-friendly meal delivery service (the first box or two is usually cheaper, and if nothing else you'll learn a month's worth of easy recipes).

Maybe you set a calendar reminder for July 1 to continue driving lessons and work on your graphic design skills, and give yourself permission for June to be a Cabin In The Woods month, where you go home every night and read paperback novels and do the easy, fun parts of your hobbies and give yourself the space to figure out your health routine.

Maybe you check in with your doctors about whether there are depression/anxiety meds you could trial safely right now. Maybe you borrow a CBT workbook from the library and see if it is useful to you. Maybe you make another calendar reminder for the fall to find a therapist, preferably one who is African American and gets where you're come from, who will treat you as well as you deserve.

Maybe you reach out to coworkers or friends in your hobby and practice letting them know what you need, even if it's something small, like "can we get coffee and vent" or "can I come over and pet your cat" (okay, this one might just be me).

I am wishing you all the best. You sound like you are an incredibly strong person with a great capacity for happiness. You're correct that life can be pretty horrendous, but you deserve any and all self-care that will make this journey easier for you.
posted by toastedcheese at 8:46 AM on June 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm so sorry to hear you're having a tough time. Just a small suggestion: On the pets front, if you are able to foster kittens, or a mama cat and kittens, many shelters and rescues will pay for the food, litter, and vet treatments if you are able to take them in -- in kitten season, socializing them is really important. And it can make a huge difference to you, to have little adorable furry creatures around the house.
posted by vickyverky at 9:55 AM on June 7, 2019

Do you qualify for any assistance programs like food stamps or food pantries? I agree with praemunire that living in poverty is inherently super stressful. Maybe this is one place in your life where you could get a little help to alleviate the financial stress.

(I'm assuming from past questions that you're in Boston.) What about help with your utilities?

Here's a list of programs to consider.

I know that it's a bunch of work to sign up for these, but it might be worth it.

I'm so sorry you're having such a tough time and have had such a tough go for so long.

re: therapy fwiw, I have always found the first couple sessions just horrible. Telling someone all your problems dredges up so many feelings plus you're being super vulnerable with a complete stranger. It's horrible. I'd also encourage you to talk to your primary care physician about anxiety and depression. I resisted trying drugs for DECADES and getting on Zoloft has been life-changing for me. Is it possible that your anxiety is telling you not to go on medication? (Just something to consider.) I'm not saying that it would solve all your problems, at all, but it could be that it would make your problems much easier to deal with. For example, before Zoloft I would cry really easily and once I started crying I could not stop. Now I only cry about once a month and I can usually stop tears if I need to.
posted by purple_bird at 12:12 PM on June 7, 2019

I know this isn't what you want to hear but I think it is important to be honest:

You need to find a psychiatrist and try medication. You may have had an 'intuitive' sense that it will be bad for you, but that is no evidence at all. I also had an 'intuitive' sense that it would be wrong for me, and I was completely incorrect.

Medication helps a LOT of people. It helped me when I was catatonic with anxiety, unable to work, telling my mum I would kill myself if it continued, and still insisting that I wouldn't try meds. Honestly, I don't think anything would have changed without them, and to some extent I would have only had my (stubborn, confused, anxious) self to blame.

It isn't about being crazy or bad, it is about being unwell and having a chance to get better.

I want to add, too, that lots of people have made some great suggestions as to other things you could do. I just don't believe they will work until you address the cause, which in all likelihood is trauma plus a chemical imbalance in your brain.
posted by thereader at 1:21 PM on June 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

Hey there, I'm a toxicologist and I do a lot of work in/around the supplement industry. I have to say, if you're having complicated medical issues, are taking other pharmaceuticals, and have unexplained signs and symptoms that are troubling you, it is very wise to consider stopping taking all supplements. I could talk for ages about this, but the nutshell is that supplements aren't regulated at all (except for instances in which they're found to be contaminated with undisclosed active ingredients--which happens all the time). Supplement makers can make just about any claim they desire, and they have no legal or regulatory mandate to back up those claims.

I'm also going to say simply this: I hear you. Goodness, I hear you. I don't want to overwhelm you, but do know that you're not alone in how you feel. I echo your level of done-ness. I'll memail you later today, because something that helps me is having a person you can contact one on one. Even if it's just venting, even if it's just an internet stranger. I hear you.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 1:38 PM on June 7, 2019 [10 favorites]

It's not that it's "mindfulness," it's that it's an eight-week organized program, for free: https://palousemindfulness.com/
posted by 8603 at 2:49 PM on June 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

I understand your reluctance to take mental health medication. For years I was very reluctant and afraid to take antidepressants. I didn't want them. Then last year my doctor prescribed some to me, said to try out a small dose and see how it goes. I filled the prescription but didn't take any for months, until finally my emotional state got so unmanageable that I thought I might as well give the meds a try. So I tried them, and here I am, still here, still me. I might still need to adjust the dosage, but I am relieved and grateful that I finally tried them.

The bottle of fluoxetine cost $5 with my health insurance prescription coverage. That is a hell of a lot cheaper than trying to manage my moods with potentially sketchy supplements and chasing after diet/lifestyle changes that might not even help me feel better.

I understand that the director suggested you avoid unnecessary medication, but what are you supposed to do? Just wait around and panic? Talk to your primary care physician about your mental/emotional symptoms. Please be open to the idea of trying meds for those, at least on a trial basis.
posted by wondermouse at 8:05 PM on June 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Given everything that you are dealing with now and what you experienced in your past, it is completely understandable that you're feeling overwhelmed. I see a lot of resilience and perseverance reflected in your history, and I'm sorry you are having such a hard time in spite of all the work you are doing.
I have to manage everything. Everything.
No you don't. You have serious ongoing mental and physical health problems. You need to conserve your energy for rest and healing. By all means yes, you should keep up with basic stuff like eating and personal hygiene and going to work and getting some gentle exercise, but so many things beyond that are optional. Focus on maintaining the basics, on activities you look forward to, . Otherwise, if you can defer, automate, or drop something in order to take pressure off your self go ahead and do it. Anyone who says that makes you bad at adulting can take a hike.

The one big exception to the defer/drop "allowance" is social engagement. If someone invites you to something—even just a coffee break at work—join them. If you have a structured social hobby (music group, gaming group, book club) keep attending meetings regularly.
It feels too hard to do a strict paleo diet for the sake of my health
Some people certainly find that adopting the Paleo diet improves their overall health and well-being or helps them manage specific diet-linked health issues. But, if you have given Paleo a good trial period and don't feel measurably better off, you don't need to keep being super strict about it or even keep doing it at all. Just focus on eating a balanced diet with good basic nutrition in whatever way is easiest for you.

Same thing with the blue-light blocker glasses. Regular and sufficient sleep is important for health, putting on special glasses at a certain time before bed much less so. Maybe get an app like F.lux that automatically adjusts your screen color and brightness after sunset.
It definitely feels too hard to try to find a therapist, as they have mocked me before, ignored my desire to not take meds (I have had an intuitive feeling for many years that they would be bad for me, but saying so has earned me nothing but condescension)
Gently, I don't think psychiatric medication as a broad category is something you can develop an intuition about. Antidepressant medications are not a panacea and not without some tradeoffs, but they are also a very, very valuable resource for people suffering from depression that has not responded to therapy or lifestyle changes alone. I know there can be considerable pressure to treat depression "naturally", avoiding medication in favor of exercise, meditating, supplements, and so on—and for some people that works fine and they are able to find relief that way. It sounds like that is not the case for you (it wasn't for me either).

Since it seems that your doctors have some concerns about you starting additional medications, consider asking your primary care team for a psychiatry referral so they can coordinate care together. Medication can provide necessary support to begin and maintain the process of healing. Please do not cut yourself off from this possibility.
People have been telling me for many years that it would get better, but after living my life, and after watching my too-kind mother rot and die with no one there for her, I have learned that it does not, in fact, get better for everyone. Every day my life reminds me that I'm a sentient, insignificant speck of dust on an unforgiving planet in an indifferent universe.
Yeah, you're right. Look, I'm not going to feed you some pablum about positive energy or finding God or how the universe is really benevolent towards us. It is a human conceit to think that this vast and full space is organized according to our moral desires. Life can be grindingly difficult, that difficulty is not evenly distributed, and no, not everyone gets better in the end. In truth I find peace in accepting the indifference of the universe. It is indifferent to all of us alike, and that means that our suffering does not come from some cosmic force that gives us what we deserve. Healing and peace and growth and happiness are not guaranteed, no, but they are still possible too.
posted by 4rtemis at 8:19 PM on June 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

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