Argh! Help!

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Hello! I've been on this site for about a month and have dished out plenty of advice, but feeling very hypocritical as haven't had the courage myself to post a question. But here goes now.

Anxiety and depression seems to run in my family. My mum suffers from it BADLY. My auntie and one of my cousins have OCD (mostly to do with cleaning I think). I remember my maternal granny was FOREVER cleaning! My mum used to as well, but that seemed to stop 20 years ago when my dad left. I know my auntie was commited (in her 20's I think, she's now in her 60s) but I don't know what for. She's always been a bit 'daft'! If she is the 'up' sister, my mum is the 'down' one. And I am absolutely positive my mum has some sort of personality disorder, but she has only ever been treated for depression.

So now to me! My problems really only started at the age of 8 or 9 when we moved house and I had to move school. It wasn't far, but felt like another world to me. Anyway, my confidence was really low and I ended up withdrawing into myself and having only a small group of friends and that's probably when I started to become seen as 'strange' or at least 'different', and by high school I felt 'abnormal' and was picked on horribly. Some classes were a complete nightmare. Anyway, to get to some sort of 'point' here...at the age of 9 or 10 I can distinctly remember starting to get compulsive thoughts. Like having to say my favourite band members name over and over in my head. I developed other little OCD type thoughts and actions, which just when I managed to overcome one, another would pop up in its place. Magical thinking was definitely there too. I also started to get those feelings of unreality (out of body type experiences) when I was either pre-teen or just into my teens.

Skipping forward a bit, the summer I left school I went a bit 'weird' for a time. I don't like to say 'manic' but having read a bit about mania/hypomania it was something similar. Then I crashed. Big time. I'd say my anxiety was probably through the roof as well at that time. I never got any help though and it probably took about a year before I felt 'normal' again.

Sorry this is really long!!! I'm only just getting to what I was really needing advice about.

The reason I think I went a bit 'odd' when I left school was I no longer knew what I was meant to do with my life. Prior to that I was set to go to art college. (maybe I should add as it's relevant to what I want to say later...my big dream had always been to work for NASA. But the maths I used to love slipped away from me, and I didn't take physics. In other words...I didn't actively DO anything to fulfill my dream. Infact, as an 'intelligent' girl I left school with far fewer qualifications (and poorer grades) than I should have. Art became my 'escape'...I didn't have to think). Anyway, for various reasons I withdrew my college application. Went 'weird' for a bit. Decided I would do an Office Admin course (since I had done a word processing module at school!). But dropped out of that after a few months. Thought, well I did Biology at school and like that. So did a year long science course at college. Got the modules but couldn't be bothered (!?!) to do the end of course assessment. Managed to get into University through the 'clearing' process to do a Biotech degree (didn't even know what that was!). Scraped through that. Never used it. Had some office jobs. Never stuck at a job for very long. Have gone through last 20 years buying books on umpteen different subjects, and spending money on courses, because I had finally discovered what I wanted to do with my life! History. Classical Studies (this one was because my then husband suggested I open an online shop. I decided on a 'Roman' theme, but for some reason I needed to learn all about ancient Rome first!!!). Religious studies. Art History. Maritime history. Ancient history. Archaeology. Mathematics. Health Science. Philosophy. And most recently I was determined that I had found my calling with Environmental Science and Geology. Bought some books but thankfully didn't sign up for the expensive courses as I got too depressed and lost interest in everything!

All that  type of stuff happens when I am feeling more 'normal'. I make plans. Start of this year for example...signed up to paid online course to learn Swedish. Bought the DVD that helps you pass your driving theory. Watched it all and went through all the questions. Told everyone I was going to take the Theory test, then get driving lessons again. Was looking for a job. Was going to lose weight...started eating really well. Bought the books I needed for my 'studies' and was going to start making lots of notes. 

Well...yep...none of that done! Started. Then abandoned. Most things abandoned really. Stopped listening to music. Stopped reading. Got lower and lower. But I'm only now starting to see a pattern in this. I do this type of thing all the time. It's never been any different. And I think it's getting worse. I recently turned 40 and the thought that I haven't achieved anything keeps sending me into a blind panic.

I also seem to make pointless lists (I've just realised this!) I'll spend hours (days/weeks!)working out my favourite songs or painters and listing them. Days looking for the perfect holiday that I'll never go on. When we had a new kitchen done I spent practically all day every day for weeks and weeks obsessing about every little detail. Looking at kitchen parts online and using 'design' applications. Meanwhile, no dishes done, no washing done, place a mess. Dinner late. 

Sorry, just a couple more things to add.  I've just realised something else I do. When I have those times where I seem to be more confident and want to do stuff, I also gets burst of energy where I have to clean the whole flat (as usually it's an effort to even pick up that tissue that's been on the floor for a week) and tidy out cupboards. But I'll start and then get caught up doing one thing, and the rest gets left! Like, this year I remember tidying out a big hall cupboard of sheets and bedding. Threw stuff out. The rest was scattered in piles on my bedroom floor. Then I realised I didn't have suitable storage bags to put everything in. So left it all there and spent hours on amazon choosing the nicest storage bags. Then had to wait for them to arrive before I could finish my 'tidying'! That's something else I seem to do. Start a task...then get horribly sidetracked.

If anyone has bothered to read this far I am so eternally grateful!

There are other things too which I guess are similar to social/general anxiety. But they seem to 'cycle' with my moods. I don't think they go away completely, but are much less of a problem when I'm not feeling very low.

 I've always just been treated for anxiety and depression. Maybe that really is all that I suffer from. But I've never told any doctor about most of what I've written above. I started to a few weeks ago, but just the OCD type stuff as a child and the fact that having a job is hard for me (I find it very stressful, which sounds pathetic). But I made such an arse of myself I'm having a hard time plucking up the courage to tell her the rest of it. At times I think it's important. Other times I think 'oh stop being so silly'! But I'm starting to realise that these things really have caused pretty major problems in my life.

SO, before I go back to her and make a fool of myself...does anyone here think they are just anxiety symptoms or could it be 'something else'. I don't feel like I get hypomanic, as I don't seem to get 'energised'...I'm always tired! But I do have a couple of other health problems that don't help with that. But my thoughts can get very 'heightened' to the point where I feel my brain will explode. That can go on for weeks and weeks. But I think that's maybe because I get really anxious about something. I just don't know! I can't switch it off. The more I try to rationalise, the worse it gets, and my thoughts get caught up in endless loops.

Oh, well anyway, I'll stop rambling on. If anyone wants to reply - -thank you!!

Oops...forgot...I also 'childlessly' get fixated on say a band, or a singer, and watch hours worth of videos on you tube...and get nothing else done. Then when my fixation wanes and I think WTF!!?

 

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    I am so glad you shared your experiences because so many match my own. The "incompletes" are all around me and do make me feel embarrassed, sometimes ashamed. Why don't I have control over these simple things? A friend of mine mentions the boxes strewn everywhere, the stuff not dealt with, almost every time he visits. I finally told him to please don't, but I realize it must bother him!

    My elliptical machine, a great deal from craigslist (do you have this site in the UK?) sits in my family room turned office and I've used it half a dozen times. I named it: Good Intentions. Everybody recommends a cognitive behavioral therapy. I know I'd attend for just a short while, or not complete homework or some such. Being a bookworm, I decided to get books and worksbooks and go through one exercise a day. Why was I deluding myself?

    I, too, have spurts of commitment, energy, where I am my own coach, telling myself to have courage, get going, deal with this and that. Whatever I get done feels good, but the problem replicates, over and over. You know, this simply "is". No one can help me because only I know what is in those boxes and where things belong or how they need to be dealt with. I hired an organizer with a background in mental health, and it felt great to have her company and compassion, but I couldn't keep it going.

    I, too, "took control" at one point and got a notebook and began "completion lists." I decided that these would be more encouraging than to-do lists that I would fail. They, too, were a good idea, but then, all of a sudden I wasn't doing them. Discovered them in a notebook in one of my boxes one day.

    Like you, I know I'm bright. I only passed my orals because the prof at the unconventional school I chose got sick and the two examiners ran out of time and said, "You know the material," a big assumption. I had not read most of the books.

    I feel lucky to have a roof over my head and food to eat. I've always been living month-to-month, because of these problems, and an inability to hold a regular job.

    Anyway, I just wanted you to know that you're not alone and I don't understand this, but these problems seem to be part of the illness. I also don't have over-the-top manic episodes, even tho I am classified as BPI, due to the depression cycles and length of them. But I am "hypomanic," which my doctor said I should seize as a  time to use for my writing projects. Many a famous writer or artist channeled the manic energy into his or her art. I'm not famous, though I've had magical thinking if not grandiosity. But directing the energy because you know it is coming, a cycle, is helpful. For me, Nov-Jan are hibernation, barely working, and used to, before medication, bring suicidal thoughts. Spring is a rush.

    Enough already! Thank you.!

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    • Posted

      Thank you for taking the time to reply elizabeth. I know what you mean about Nov-Jan (although in Scotland it's more like October to March!). I definitely feel better when Spring comes around. 

      I'm only just starting to admit to myself that my behaviour is quite odd! Although I suppose i've always known it is, but I've never really understood it. I've never known how to explain it. Not even to myself, let alone anyone else. And I always end up dismissing it as 'just me being a bit weird'. But it impacts on my life. So I'm starting to think that perhaps it maybe is more serious than I thought.

      The thing is, I'm never odd enough for anyone to notice! At least, they might think I'm a bit flakey sometimes, but none of my friends or family (apart from maybe my ex and my kids!) even know just how big my problems are. That's why I'm heistant to think that I get hypomanic. I'm not sure I fit all the symptoms of hypomania. Infact, I'm fairly sure I don't. Which is why I'm scared to bring all this up with my doctor. I'm scared she will just dismiss it and keep treating the anxiety and depression. But I feel it's more than that. It's very confusing. I get very irritable too. Don't want to see anyone because their petty conversations are irritating or stopping me from spending hours indulging myself in a latest obsession. (then I feel bad for feeling like that).

      It's probably a good thing I don't really have the money to spend on 'projects'! I've started a few here and there, but I never get far with them. If I could have afforded it I'd probably own by now a sewing machine, a pottery wheel, expensive art materials, an even more expensive camera, a telescope and quite likely a piano! But thankfully I don't!

      Anyway, thanks again for the reply and I wish you all the best with your own struggles. xx

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  • Posted

    Phew!!!!that was some writing..I love to write myself and read.

    I think you would need to get professional help Mari to get a diagnosis as to what it is wrong with you..sure seems something not right going on with you but you shudve been diagnosed years ago. Get to your GP who can then refer you on. May God be be with and help you.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for replying maureen. Yes, I know I should've said something sooner, but it's hard to know if these problems are 'real', if you know what I mean! The depression and anxiety I can understand in myself, the rest of it just seems, well....all in my head! Ha! xx
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  • Posted

    I dont think anyone can guess a diagnosis for you. A doctor really makes the most sense to get your answers. Depression and anxiety exist and ocd tendancies are always involved in that. The bouts of energy and lists and all that then followed by lows you would need to let a doctor know this. My sister had a lot if the stuff you mentions, im unsure of her exact diagnosis but she was put on prozac which seemed to effect every symptom she displayed. Im guessing that medicine must take care of whatever embalance is there.
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